Monday, December 17, 2012

Flushing range ewes

A study was conducted (in Wyoming) to determine the effect of flushing on the reproductive performance of range ewes. Flushing or supplementing ewes just prior to, and during the breeding season has been shown to improve the ovulation rate of ewes.

From a range flock of 6,500 ewes plus replacements, 1,600 ewes were selected for flushing. The ewes were fed a pelleted supplement for 35 days. The initial amount fed was 0.4 lbs. per head per day. It was gradually increased to 1.3 lbs. per head per day by the end of the breeding season.

Lambing rate is difficult to determine on range land so the number of lambs per flock was determined when lambs were gathered for castration, docking and vaccination the following spring. On average, flushing increased lamb survival rate from 78% (without supplement) to 90% (with supplement) on the range. 

A small-scale pen study was also conducted with two groups of 25 ewes. The supplemented group was fed 1.11 lbs. per head per day or 39 lbs. of supplement. Lambing rate increased 37% for ewes receiving supplement compared to those not receiving supplement.

The profitability of flushing will obviously depend on both lamb and grain prices.  Producers may be able to cut costs by shortening the supplementation period or feeding less processed feeds. Ewes already in good body condition may not benefit from flushing.

Source: Journal of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.Vol. 5. Issue 2.

Read full journal article

No comments: