Flushing Ewes prior to Breeding

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by YuccaFlatsRanch, Sep 25, 2004.

  1. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Does anyone bother to flush their ewes prior to breeding them?? By flushing I mean about 3-4 weeks prior to breeding date you start both the ewes and the rams on a slightly increased diet (better legume hay and/or small amounts of grain) to slightly increase their weight prior to breeding. It is said to increase the incidence of twins and triplets as the sheep is in a "time of abundance" and therefore "should" be able to handle the multiple births better.

    Have you seen a difference over not flushing prior to breeding??
     
  2. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    We flush. Our sheep are on a whatever-is-in-the-pasture benign neglect diet with an occasional wormer thrown on top. We do wean in the beginning of August (rams will go in with the ewes in December), but the ewes are still hard pressed to get back into condition on our pastures alone. So we feed alfalfa hay and a smiggin of grain starting about mid-October. Undersized ewe lambs we pay particular attention to, because we do breed ewe lambs.
     

  3. landlord

    landlord Well-Known Member

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    My ewes are being flushed at the present time. Legumes, alfalfa, red and white clover can have too much estrogen in the plants and cause eggs not to become fertilized. (a natural birthcontrol for sheep, anyhow) If you feed the legumes, make sure 1/2 of it is grasses. I just found this fact out via internet, by accident, looking for something else and came across the info. I talked with a sheep rancher who has had sheep for over 40 years and says he feeds his sheep grass hay and or on a grass pasture when flushing. My little pastures have an abundance of white clover this year due to the ample rains.
    This may be why I have had many singles since we have been at this location.
     
  4. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Everything I read talks about Red Clover and possibly white clover having extra amounts of estrogen and causing "birth Control" problems in sheep, but there is no mention of alfalfa and other legumes. We feed alfalfa year round as pasture isn't always the best.
     
  5. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Why take chances with clover unless you have to? Still i had a neighbor who would flush on red clover pasture all the time and he always had a good lamb crop (Hamps and Dorsets) breed probably makes a differenece too. We flush our ewes because they need that weight gain for winter and I suppose it does keep the lambign numbers up. This year they'll get second cut grasses and sorghum both green chopped and a little bit of corn. They were wormed a month ago and I'll worm them again. The only point I want to add is you don't particularly stop that extra feed once they are bred but keep it up for a couple of months after that. Fetal death is a real possibility in the first 2 months of gestation if the feed suddenly slacks off. I think this years crop faired better because through the cold of winter I used the protein mineral tubs too.