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Tips for success in raising highly productive Rideau sheep:

  • Pasture is a very important aspect of raising sheep and can be used with an accelerated lambing system to help make your operation sustainable and also provide numerous environmental benefits and lower your cost of production. Good pasture is the result of rotationally grazing the flock quickly through small pasture allotments so that they are never left on a tired bit of ground.
  • Feed .5 KG. [one 1/4 lbs.] of 15% protein ewe ration/grain mix per ewe per day before lambing along with good quality hay. The ewe ration/grain mix should be increased gradually from an initial .2 KG. [1/4 lb.]starting six weeks before lambing to achieve the .5 KG portion by one week before lambing commences in the flock.
  • Ewes on good quality pasture may need little if any supplement at all if they are lambing in the late spring or early to mid Fall.
  • Separate ewes after lambing according to the number of lambs they have had and feed them accordingly for the next 30 days. Those with quads and triplets should receive more ewe ration/grain mix than those with two or fewer lambs. We feed a .45 Kg. [1 Lb.] per lamb to the ewes. So a ewe with triplets should receive about 1.35 kg. [3 Lb.]. This must be worked up to slowly over a period of eight days and divided into two feedings each day.
  • Ewes, with lambs at their side, on good quality pasture may not need to receive any supplemental feed but care should be taken to not let ewes feeding high numbers of multiples lose too much condition. We often feed about .25 kg. [ ½ lb.] of ewe ration per ewe at this time and increase it if the summer gets too dry.
  • Immediately after the ewes lamb out, they are scored according to their performance in cleaning their lambs and getting them nursing and this is recorded so that once the task of dealing with all the lambs is done an accurate assessment of their performance can be recorded in their history and help in the selection process for the replacement stock. The mothering ability is highly inheritable both through the female and male offspring and will be passed on from generation to generation.
  • Always provide a sheep mineral as well as salt, as highly productive ewes need the extra boost in their diet.
  • Working with an Ovine nutritional expert can also be a good Idea.