By Ross Learmouth,

Trainee nutritionist and livestock specialist with Harbro

Across the country, light will be appearing at the end of the poly tunnel and, as quick as lambing sheds see new life appear, grass fields will come to life too, as sets of ewes and lambs are turned out.

What more could be wished for?

With idyllic scenes such as this before the eyes of earlier lambing shepherd, in the grasp of those still lambing and far off in the imagination of those who have not yet begun, is there any room in the back of all our minds to consider the importance of mineral nutrition post lambing into the summer months?

For sleep-deprived shepherds, there will be thought for little else but their flock. But there are a few short messages to be had from this article.

A ewe turned out with two good lambs may look like she’s made it. She’s got through it all without dying but at that point her immunity is at its lowest.

Though she may not be destined to die, an impaired immunity does increase the likelihood of problems. Strong immunity requires a certain intake of key nutrients and as good as it looks, this is not exclusively down to grass.

Minerals and vitamin shortfalls are easily fixed and in the early part of the season, remember she is still the major source of nutrients for her lambs. Whilst major nutrient intake is aided by her increased appetite, mineral-wise we need to keep the ewe eating for two.

It is important to ensure mineral requirements are met and it recommended that a mineral bucket such as 'Feet, fertility and worms' is put out for an immediate boost to immunity but also a lasting benefit to the lambs.

With a formulation that aims to provide nutritional support throughout all stages of production, this is designed to give those vital key nutrients zinc, biotin and Sel-Plex that promote hoof growth and health, support the oestrus cycle and help to reduce worm egg shredding as a complement to existing husbandry practices.

As well as an immune boost, zinc with certain B-vitamins, for example, benefits tissue repair, skin, and foot health. The ewe is very much a working machine post-lambing and without proper maintenance, she can quite literally fall to bits.

In proportionate production terms, she is working as hard as a high yielding dairy cow, but is often treated like a dry one. Consider the benefits of supplementary zinc and biotin as the ewe undergoes post-partum uterine repair, walks on slightly tender feet, whilst losing balance as two sharp toothed lambs butt keenly at her udder.

Uterine repair is hugely important for a successful conception ahead of next year’s lambing, but even a month after lambing, fertility should not to be put aside. Through the summer, although ewes are not breeding, potential lambs continue to be created in the ovary, as follicles develop and mature to be later released when the ewes start cycling.

With pressure on anthelmintic use, we are seeing alternatives and means of complementing responsible use appear, which, when conjoined, can collectively aid the reduction of worm burdens through the summer.

So, although the grass may be lush and the ewes and lambs may be happy in the field, mineral intake should always be at the forefront of any shepherd’s mind ensuring that nutritional support continues to be provided throughout the year giving noticeable results.