Colostrum Feeding of Newborn Lambs

Summarized from Sheep Production Handbook, p 426

It is critical that the newborn lamb receives a large amount of colostrum as soon after birth as possible. 

This colostrum will provide the lamb with energy to protect it from cold.  A lamb is born with a supply of “brown fat” that provides a short and immediate energy source.  After that, the lamb is totally dependent on intake (colostrum).

In addition, colostrum provides protection (antibodies) against specific diseases which the …

Feeding The Ewe During Late Pregnancy / Gestation

Summarized from Sheep Production Handbook, page 752-753.

The last four to six weeks of gestation is a critical nutritional period, because at least two-thirds of fetal growth occurs during this period.  Nutrient restrictions at this time will result in lighter weight lambs at birth, unequal birth weights of twin and triplet lambs,  reduced mothering instinct, lowered milk production, increased early lamb loss and possibly pregnancy toxemia.  Because of the increased fetal growth during this period of the ewe’s biological …

Body Condition Score

By Dr. Rodney Kott and Dr. Lisa Surber, Montana State University


The use of both body weight and condition scores can help producers make important feed management decisions.  Condition scoring is a system of describing or classifying breeding animals by differences in relative body fatness.

Generally in the United States, body condition scores ranging from 0 to 5 are used, with 0 being emaciated, near death and 5, a morbidly obese ewe (Body Condition Scoring of Sheep).  The …

Ewes Biological Cycle and Target Body Condition Scores

By Dr. Rodney Kott & Dr. Lisa Surber, Montana State University

Ewes Biological Cycle:

  • Breeding (Flushing-2 wks prior to turning out bucks and breeding-generally 2 estrous cycles or about 34 days)
  • Gestation/Pregnancy (138 to 159 days-147 day average)
    • Early (first 15 wks)
    • Late (last 6 wks)


  • Lactation
    • Early (first 6-8 wks; peak milk production is at 3 wks)
    • Late (last 4-6 wks; in most cases after 10 to 14 wks lactation ewes are for all practical purposes dry)