In descending order, by date published.
Ewes on vacation should remain healthy, but not become obese. Keeping them in a BCS of 1.5 to 2.0 will not be an easy chore because all they have to do is graze and deposit body fat. Limiting forage dry matter consumption to 2.0% of body weight daily through stocking rate management and rotational grazing is the best way to keep ewes from becoming excessively fat. If ewes have an optimum BCS at the beginning of nutritional flushing, and are flushed correctly, 95 to 98% of the ewes will conceive in a short period of the breeding season and lambing rate can be increased by 15 to 20% above that of less intensely managed ewes.
Reproduction is the beginning of a series of significant events involved in the production of lambs for market. Obviously, the higher the reproduction rate in ewes, the greater the chances of achieving maximum profit. A knowledge of the mating (breeding) habits of the ewe can improve the chances for higher reproductive rates, marketing more pounds of lamb per ewe, increasing the efficiency of labor use, and ultimately increasing the chances of greater profit.
Kentucky has the resources required for successful sheep production systems. The state has a vast forage production potential, under-utilized labor and facilities, and access to a well-established market. Many Kentucky farmers should consider the sheep enterprise and its benefits, particularly if they want to make more efficient use of their forages, labor, and facilities. In developing this enterprise, the following must be considered: feed supply, labor, facilities and equipment, foundation stock, and the production system.
Body condition scoring is a system of classifying breeding ewes on the basis of differences in body fat. While it is subjective, with practice it can be accurate enough to indicate the nutritional status of individual ewes as well as the entire flock. Thus, it allows the shepherd to identify, record, and adjust the feed intake of ewes determined to be thin, in average flesh, or fat. In the long run, this can save money for producers and/or prevent problems attributable to ewe condition.