So what does a ewe need to do to produce twins? When a ewe is in heat she needs calcium. That is the only nutritional requirement she has in heat. Calcium is also the only nutrient a ewe needs to produce twins. However, a ewe must be at least two years old to produce twins. This is why it is critical to have a ewe evaluated for fertility as soon as she reaches breeding age. Older ewes are more likely to have twins.
The calcium requirements are divided into two parts: 1) the amount a ewe needs to provide to the lambs and 2) the amount she needs to provide to the ewe to be able to produce twins. For the twins that we are talking about, the nutritional requirements are the same as they are for the ewes in heat.
Sow nutrition will include all of the same components as ewe nutrition. The only difference is the ratio of protein to energy. Studies have shown that protein requirements for a sow are determined based on the number of piglets per litter. Sows bred early in gestation are less likely to have twins.
A sow's nutrition requirements are much the same as for a ewe. If you have the time, a sow can be bred at approximately 4 to 6 months of age and will produce twins. The nutrition plan should be in the moderate protein and high energy range. There is a major difference in the nutritional requirements of a sow depending on how far she has advanced in gestation. Sows bred at 4 to 5 weeks gestation will require approximately 3 pounds of feed per day to produce and rear 9 to 12 pounds of a litter of 10 to 14 piglets. Sows bred at 6 weeks gestation will require 5 to 6 pounds of feed per day to produce and rear 15 to 21 pounds of a litter of 16 to 27 piglets. Sows bred at 8 weeks gestation will require 5 to 7 pounds of feed per day to produce and rear 24 to 33 pounds of a litter of 28 to 41 piglets. Sows bred at 10 weeks gestation will require 9 to 12 pounds of feed per day to produce and rear 35 to 47 pounds of a litter of 44 to 65 piglets. Sows bred at 12 weeks gestation will require 12 to 14 pounds of feed per day to produce and rear 50 to 67 pounds of a litter of 62 to 93 piglets.
The high-quality protein should be available in the ration in two levels. Ewes with twins should be getting about 12 grams per day of protein. Ewes with single lambs should be getting about 18 to 20 grams per day of protein.
Flushing ewes require 2 to 4 pounds of grain or hay per day. Some ewes with twins need about a 3.5-pound ration because they are getting an extra 400 to 500 calories per day. Fat ewes need only about a 1-pound ration per day.
A good year may be as short as six months. Ewe's with twins or a great supply of lambs may be able to breed again. Once a ewe has had twins, a good nutrition program will enhance her ability to get pregnant again.
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