It’s often overlooked and not often monitored enough on sheep farms, but body condition scoring (BCS) ewes in the lead up to the lambing season should be a priority.

It’s been a wet back end and ewes tend to lose more condition during wet weather conditions.

As this back end hasn’t been ideal for grazing, lower dry matter (DM) grass and with grazing conditions poor, it will leave some of the flock under pressure.

Also Read: Take advantage of the benefits scanning ewes offers

In particular, older ewes and those with bad mouths will struggle most, as will those that were already a bit behind at joining.

Check ewe condition early and consider drafting off the thinner ewes, for example, those with a BCS of 2.5.

Ideally, we want ewes lambing down with a BCS of 3.0. A ewe in poor condition will hold on to energy supplies instead of passing them onto her offspring. This, in turn, will affect lamb growth-rates and colostrum production.

Therefore, treat any apparent health issues. The wet weather has forced many farmers’ hands so for those short on grass it is worth considering housing thinner ewes and providing a small amount of supplementation to improve their condition.

This should only be a concern for a small percentage of ewes in the flock, but as with many aspects of flock management, early intervention will pay dividends come lambing time.