Flush Feeding in Ewes
Flush feeding is a management practice used to ensure that female sheep gain an appropriate amount of weight before being mated. It is utilised to increase the conception rate of the flock and ensures that more ewes that are mated conceive.
What is flush feeding:
Flush feeding is the practice of supplementing the diet of an ewe with a high-quality feed before mating. This ensures that they gain weight and body conditions, which in turn stimulates ovulation and conception rates.
This feed is high in energy, with the option of being high in protein if the veld they are grazing on is deficient in protein. Molatek’s Master 20 is an excellent source of protein and can be used on pastures and veld that are low in protein and vital trace minerals.
Which sheep should be flush fed:
Ewes that have a good body weight and body condition will not reap the same benefits from flush feeding as ewes who are underweight or leaner.
It has also been found that more mature ewes reap more benefits from flush feeding than yearlings do. Molatek’s Enerblock is ideal for improving the condition of mature animals on high-quality pastures.
What are the benefits of flush feeding:
The aim of flush feeding is to get a sheep at an optimum body weight and body condition. It has been found that malnourished ewes or ewes with a body condition score of 3.0 or under, struggle to ovulate and conceive.
This means that flush feeding:
- Increases the rate at which the whole flock ovulates
- Increases the rate at which individual ewes ovulate
- Improves conception rates
- Improves the rate of implantation
- Increases the lambing percentage
Overall, flush feeding is used to increase the reproductivity of the flock.
When should you start flush feeding:
It is suggested that flush feeding be implemented at least two weeks before the mating season, and that it be continued at least three weeks after the mating season has ended. Thereafter the feed can be gradually reduced until the normal diet is fed.
With ewes that are very thin or very lean it is suggested that the supplementation starts four to six weeks before breeding, giving more time for their body condition to improve.
It should be noted that better results are seen when a high-level supplementation is fed for a shorter period of time compared to a low-level supplementation that is fed for a longer period of time.
For more information, contact you nearest Molatek technical advisor.