Managing pregnancy in ewes

Page last updated: Wednesday, 21 March 2018 - 10:09am

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The health and nutrition of the pregnant ewe largely determines how successful lambing is in any given year. Careful monitoring and management of the pregnant ewe during the five month foetal development will help her cope with the rigours of birth and lactation, and also influence lamb survival, birthweight and production for life.


There are key factors to consider during pregnancy which affect the chances of successful lambing:

  • ewe nutrition – at all stages of the pregnancy
  • litter size – pregnancy scanning provides essential information to better manage the ewe flock
  • vaccination and worm control.

Pregnancy is generally 150 days (five months). The majority of foetal growth occurs in the final 60 days; however, setting up effective nutrient transfer from the ewe to the foetus occurs with udder and placental development in the first trimester of pregnancy. Most of the wool follicle development occurs in the second and third trimesters and can be significantly affected by nutrition.


Graph showing how the increasing weight of the foetus is made up of placenta, udder and conceptus.  Source D. Revell
Figure 1 The increasing weight of the foetus is made up of placenta, udder and conceptus (Source: D. Revell)


Contact information

Danny Roberts
+61 (0)8 9892 8535