A computer program is described which allows the calculation throughout pregnancy of the energy requirements of a ewe of any weight carrying any number of foetuses. The calculations rely on a prediction of potential lamb birth weight, from which a foetal growth curve of weight against time from conception is generated. Tied to the foetal growth curve are the growths of the placenta and fluids, while growth of the uterus is related to the ewe's weight at mating. Weights are converted to energy through energy density curves applicable through pregnancy for each component. An efficiency factor converts this energy requirement into a metabolizable energy requirement. With assumptions on the maintenance requirements for the ewe-foetus system, the total requirement for energy during pregnancy is calculated.
Predictions from the model are compared with other estimates of energy requirements available in the literature. The sensitivity of the predictions of energy requirements for the pregnant ewe to variations in the assumptions made in the construction of the model is discussed. The most important assumptions are those on the maintenance requirements for the ewe-foetus system. Effects on the predicted energy requirements of varying either the efficiency for foetal growth or the gestation length are also discussed.