13. An annual program for higher flock reproductive performance
Optimise joining weight and fat score
To mark the highest percentage of lambs, which then grow into heavy hoggets it is important to have the ewes at the correct weight and fat score at lambing. The very best way to achieve this is to start by optimising joining weight and fat score. In this regard, early weaning of twin-bearing ewes will help.
Utilise the best joining practices
See the next page for details.
Maintain weight and fat score from the end of joining until mid pregnancy
This is a critical phase of the process. The weight and fat score of all ewes should not be allowed to fall back during this period as it may be impossible to regain such losses in late pregnancy.
Scan the ewes
- Decide what to scan for and when to scan them.
- Start the twin bearing ewes on a rising plane of nutrition.
- Maintain weights and fat scores for all the single-bearing ewes until the start of lambing.
- Identify the later lambing single bearing ewes and put them into their lambing paddock two weeks after general lambing starts
Introduce the twin-bearing ewes and the single-bearing ewes into their allocated paddocks, on the basis of the concepts outlined in the pages under "How to save lambs".
Mark the early-lambing single-born lambs before the later-lambing single-born lambs.
After lamb marking and before next joining
- Attempt to have the lambs weaned 14 weeks after lambing starts.
- When pasture availability during lactation is limited, weaning can take place even earlier.
- Adverse seasons may not permit the weight and fat score of ewes to be as high as might be desired by the start of the next joining because you have limited control over this situation. All you can do is get weight and fat score to an optimum level before the start of joining.