New research from Aberystwyth University has again confirmed that feeding Crystalyx Extra High Energy to ewes at grass increases the number of lambs born next spring compared to ewes on grass alone. At scanning the Crystalyx fed ewes, in the Aberystwyth University study, had an EXTRA 20% lamb numbers inside them compared to the control ewes – fewer empty ewes and an increased number of twins at the expense of singles, with no increase in the number of triplets.
Crystalyx intakes in the Aberystwyth study throughout the flushing/tupping/mid-pregnancy period averaged just under 30g/ewe/day – less than 3p/ewe/day!
The new research from Aberystwyth University confirms that feeding Crystalyx Extra High Energy helps ewes gain weight faster at grass so they get in the right condition and are ready to take the ram sooner than when fed grass alone – this resulted in a significantly shorter/tighter lambing period (22 days vs 49 days) and allowed more focussed nutrition in late pregnancy.
Recent AHDB data has shown that ewes maintaining better body condition in mid-pregnancy, between tupping and scanning, typically have more lambs inside them at scanning time. The ewes fed Crystalyx in the Aberystwyth study gained, and maintained, better weight and body condition in mid-pregnancy than ewes on grass alone (+6.6kg liveweight gain from the start of the trial to mid-pregnancy, compared with +2.5kg gain for the control ewes in the same time period). This confirms results from previous research on Extra High Energy at Newcastle University
Ewe body condition does matter and needs to be managed proactively, weaning is the perfect time to condition score and deal with ewes out with the target score. Nutrition during the weeks before mating should ensure all ewes are in the correct body condition score by the time they join the ram – 3.5 for lowland breeds. Over fat or thin ewes never perform well with many of them taking longer to come on heat when rams are turned in. The oestrus period can be erratic, with fewer eggs being shed which leads to a higher percentage of ewes being barren, or prone to prolapse as well as increasing the chances of twin lamb disease when pregnant.
Ewes need 2 months to recover after weaning and should ideally be body condition scored at that time.
Thin ewes will need 2 months on good grass to put on 1 unit of body condition (this could be equivalent to 10-11kg bodyweight for a lowland ewe) but independent research conducted at Newcastle University shows this period can be significantly reduced if the ewes have access to Crystalyx Extra High Energy at grass.
Fit ewes, in good body condition (at least at the lower end of their target range) will have good ovulation rates that will not normally be improved by a further increase in the plane of nutrition. These ewes simply need to be maintained where they are and offered a nutritionally balanced diet.
Grass is good for vitamins but is frequently deficient in essential trace elements, such as zinc, cobalt, iodine and selenium. A deficiency of cobalt has been shown to result in a lower ovulation rate, poor egg quality and impaired embryo development in early pregnancy, whilst selenium and vitamin E deficiencies have been associated with increased early embryonic mortality around the time of implantation. A zinc deficiency will reduce immunity and the response to vaccination and a disease challenge.
Again and again research shows that CRYSTALYX Extra High Energy provides a palatable, concentrated energy source containing all the essential minerals, trace elements and vitamins that ewes (and rams) will need to ensure optimum fertility and performance.