Ewe condition: There is no time for complacency when it comes to having ewes ready for this year’s breeding season. While ewes are generally reported as being in pretty good condition, there are always those that need preferential treatment. Teagasc research shows that increasing the body condition score by one unit within a range of BCS 2.5 to 4 has the potential to increase litter size by 0.13 lambs. It will take ewes an average of eight to 10 weeks on good-quality grass to gain one condition score (about 9kg to 12kg liveweight for ewes with a weight of 75kg to 80kg).
It may not be straightforward having extra grazing groups, and a good solution is to group ewes requiring preferential treatment with cull ewes or ewe lambs. It is also advisable to monitor performance, as ewes starting from a better position can regain condition faster. Likewise, it is worth monitoring ewes being fed on a maintenance diet, to ensure they do not lose condition and that the diet on offer is sufficient to meet maintenance demands.