In the final 2 weeks of pregnancy there is a large increase in the protein requirement of the ewe for udder growth and colostrum production (Robinson, 1985). Ewe dry matter (DM) intakes fall during late pregnancy (Forbes, 1970) so meeting the theoretical requirements at this stage can be difficult.
The trial was designed to compare the effect of providing the required protein on a flat-rate or a ‘step-up’ feeding system on lamb and colostrum production.
Sixty-two Cambridge ewes aged 1 to 9 years and scanned as carrying 2 to 6 lambs were used. Ewes were housed and sheared approximately 2 months pre-partum and fed a complete diet at a restricted level and hay ad libitum until the commencement of the trial at 4 weeks pre-partum.