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Low protein could affect lamb births

The study was carried out by researchers at Edinburgh University.
The study was carried out by researchers at Edinburgh University.

Ewes with low protein levels are more likely to lose lambs between scanning and birth, says a new study.

The research, led by Edinburgh University, was funded by levy bodies AHDB, Quality Meat Scotland and Meat Promotion Wales.

Researchers carried out a metabolic profile on every ewe in a flock. Long-term protein balance was variable and around half the flock had low results.

Ewes that lost one or more lambs between scanning and tagging at 24-hours-old had lower protein levels than those that did not lose a lamb.

The study says this is evidence that poor long-term protein status is an important factor in newborn lamb survival.

However, further work is needed to determine whether this is due to diseases such as liver fluke or a poor dietary protein supply during pregnancy.

“This project has highlighted the importance of ewe nutrition on the lead-up to lambing and the potential outcome of the lamb,” said the levy bodies.

The university study was financed by a £2 million ring-fenced pot of red meat levies for collaborative working across the UK.

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