A series of workshops are to be held across rural Wales to help farmers best prepare for lambing season.

Planning the feeding and management of pregnant ewes is critical in the last six weeks of pregnancy, with farmers warned that getting it wrong risks foetal growth and development, even the future fertility of unborn lambs.

Vet Phillipa Page, who’s continuing to advise farmers in a series of Farming Connect ewe nutrition workshops across Wales, says the ewe’s requirement for energy and protein increases rapidly in the late stages of pregnancy as around 70 per cent of foetal growth occurs during this period.

Feed energy levels drive lamb birth weights, and protein underpins colostrum quality and quantity, the feed which "sets the lamb up for life".

Ms Page, of Flock Health Ltd, cautioned that transitioning the ewe from grazed grass to a housed ration needs to be done slowly and carefully otherwise she will be unable to digest that feed, resulting in digestive upset, causing metabolic diseases, poor quality colostrum and reduced milk yield.

"We can bring these on by mistake because sheep don’t like changes in their diet, it upsets the army of microbes in their rumen," she said.

As a result, she will lose body condition and this can have a detrimental effect on the unborn lamb affecting the maternal bond and mothering ability and production of the sufficient quantities of good quality colostrum needed to prevent neonatal diseases, such as watery mouth.

An 'animal health – importance of nutrition in sheep' workshop will be held on Wednesday, 6 December between 7.30pm and 9.30pm in Dolgellau Rugby Club and in Crymych Rugby Club on Tuesday, 12 December at the same time.

If you are interested in attending an event on this topic, contact the Farming Connect Service Centre to book your place on 03456 000 813.