Shepherds have known for years that fishmeal has been a valuable supplement for sheep but it is only in recent years that scientists have really understood why it is so effective, especially at tupping time and before lambing.For many years it has been assumed that the beneficial effects from fishmeal feeding have been exclusively from it's high quality protein. It's now clear from work in many species that the unique benefits are from the Omega-2 essential long chain fatty acids (LCPs), which it contains. These long chain fatty acids escape changes in the rumen and are triggers for reproductive and health benefits.
Salmon Oil is particularly rich in the long chain fatty acids EPA and DHA and it is these that are particularly important during the conception and lambing cycles.
The research has shown that feeding Salmon Oil has a direct effect on the complete production cycle in a flock including fertility, milkier ewes leading to improved lamb viability and overall health and resistance to disease.
In rams, because it is particularly rich in the Omega-3 component DHA, Salmon Oil facilitates sperm motility by improving the flexibility of the outer sperm membrane resulting in better overall conception rates.
In ewes the effects of Salmon Oil on the reproductive system result in a bigger dominant follicle, stronger heats, improved quality of sheep ova and reduced early embryonic loss, thereby improving lambing percentages.
Additionally, ewe fertility improvements occur because the EPA and DHA in the Salmon Oil are strong inhibitors of the prostaglandin PGF2a, which has been shown to be a cause of early embryonic loss.
It's also likely that the same prostaglandin hormones cause premature birth so that feeding the correct balance of fatty acids will maintain full term pregnancy.
Improved Lamb Viability
Harper Adams has published work showing improved lamb viability from Omega-3 supplementation. The report demonstrates that there is an improvement in lamb vigour when supplementing with vitamin E and fish oils. Omega-3 oils are essential for foetal development and have been shown in recent research to increase lamb vitality and viability after birth with an improved chance of survival as the lambs stood and suckled earlier, which is directly associated with survival rates.
Feeding fish oil has been shown to have a direct positive effect on milk yield and milk quality. There is a big increase in colostrum production from fishmeal feeding containing large quantities of Omega-3 oils.
Improved Liver Function/ Less Pregnancy Toxaemia
Recent work has shown that feeding Omega-3 fish oils improves liver metabolism by boosting the metabolism in bovine liver cells so reducing the risk of ketosis immediately following birth. After lambing a shortage of blood glucose causes a massive demand on back fat for energy, which can result in incomplete fat metabolism and the production of toxic ketones that poison the ewe. Fish oils speed up the mobilisation of fat and reduce negative ketone production.
Improved Immune Status and Reduced Worm Burden
Research has also shown improvements in immunity from Omega-3 supplementation. One piece of research, with orphan lambs fed milk replacer with or withour fish oil, reported an increase in elements in the blood that are associated with an improved ability to to prevent infections caused by infectious bacteria.
Also, several New Zealand studies show reduced worm burdens and improved growth rates in lambs fed fishmeal. As with reproductive benefits the worm reduction observations were initially attributed to a fish protein effect, but it now looks as though it's very much an improved autoimmune system response from Omega-3's in the fish oil component.
Salmon Oil, rich in Omega-3 DHA and EPA, has been shown to improve vital elements within the complete breeding cycle in sheep, as well as giving lambs an improved start in life due to the better quality colostrum from the mother as well as the improved resistance to challenges encountered early on in life.
With the evidence from research and to ensure ewes have the correct balance of Omega-3 oil available prior to and within the main breeding cycle the Brinicombe Group option of the Sheeplic All-in-one can provide this. This tub contains fish oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids to support fertility and conception rates at breeding time, as well as a balanced mineral, trace element and vitamin supply.