Managing Ewe Mortality

Ewe condition score (CS) at lambing can be important in limiting ewe mortality, especially when weather conditions are poor. Mortality occurs mainly when condition score is less than 2 during late pregnancy. Twin bearing ewes are more at risk during late pregnancy and lambing. Single bearing ewes may have increased risk of dystocia if they are too heavy coming into lambing.

Ewes are also affected by weather, their age, pregnancy status and FOO at lambing.

source: GSARI 2001-2004 lambing data


  • Twinners should be at least CS 3 and on good pasture to allow unrestricted intake by lambing to limit pregnancy toxaemia.
  • Single ewes should be at least CS 2.5 by lambing and should be < 4 CS to limit dystocia
  • Where poor weather is likely over lambing, shelter must be provided and effective predator control is important.
  • Older ewes (full mouth and older) should have higher FOO @ lambing to ensure adequate intake.

Danger Zone

Twin ewes < CS 2.5 @ lambing,
Single ewes <CS 2 or >CS 4 @ lambing


  • Identify twinners (with option to run separately in late pregnancy) and remove dries @ scanning (d 90)
  • Draft off any twinners < CS 2.5 @ day 90 and manage separately to increase Condition Score
  • Draft off any single ewes < CS 2 @ day 90 and manage separately to increase Condition Score
  • Prepare lambing paddocks - especially twinner mob by:
    o Controlling predation
    o Providing shelter
    o Good quality and supply of pasture
  • Any ewes <CS 2 should be removed from the mob and managed separately

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