Having a flock of ewes that are in good body condition should be viewed as a resource that is important to protect. The reasoning behind this statement is straightforward. It takes a significant feed resource to bring about an improvement in ewe condition. The cost of this feed resource is significant at all stages of the year, but it is particularly expensive during the winter months.

For example, it takes a lowland ewe anywhere from eight to 12 weeks to gain one condition score (10kg to 12kg liveweight) on good-quality grass. This is the most economical route of gaining condition, with the cost much higher where supplementary feeding is the route for this gain.