weaning lambs

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weaning lambs

Jul 29, 2014 | 09:29 1 Wondering what other people do regarding weaning lambs. Last year the grass was fantastic, the ewes were first timers, and most had singles, so I left them together and let nature take it's course. They weaned themselves.

This year, the grass is good, but not like last year. I have twice as many lambs, and it's looking like they will use up the grass a lot faster than last year.

I'm considering weaning them this year. Not quite yet, though. What age do others wean their lambs? Mine are twelve weeks old now, but by the end of August they should be running out of good grass. They get a bit of oats every day, so they know what that is.

Would sixteen weeks be a good time? Or sooner? I don't want them to be set back, since they're doing so well. Reply With Quote
Jul 30, 2014 | 21:57 2 Have you been creep feeding them? That makes a fair difference on "natural" weaning we have found out. Our lambs range from 3 weeks old to around 10 weeks old, and the old lambs are all but pretty much weaned. We have lots of grass this year, we have around 12 sheep (including lambs), per acre on a total acre basis, rotationally grazing every couple weeks. I think part of it is that we have been creep feeding the lambs a grower ration from the age of around 3 or 4 weeks.

They are growing much better than last year, they are weaning better, the ewes are in better shape, the grass is holding out better too, as they eat about a lb a day of 18% ration or more a head per day. It costs a bit more, but so far it sure looks like the results will more than pay off.

I do feed the ewes more grain than I should as well, but part of it is I like how they handle when they are used to being fed. Easy as pie! lol.

As we grow our flock, and we fence more land, I am sure this theory will all go up in smoke, but for now, it seems to work well. Anytime you supplemental feed with concentrates, you relieve a lot of pressure off of the grass. Yes, the costs go up, but we have so few head, that 5 bucks a day will not kill us...

Just a few thoughts. As far as complete weaning, IE physical separation, I am not sure what we will do, as we only have the two paddocks. I think though, we will separate when the grass gives out in fall, and hay feeding begins. At this rate, our lambs may be marketable by then anyways. VERY little nursing by the lambs is observed, except by the younger 3 to 6 week olds. The oldest ones are rarely if ever allowed a drink by the ewes.

We need more pasture too!!! If we are going to expand the flock as hoped, and as it looks like could happen, I should be out fencing right now, but alas, it will have to be next year.

Good luck. Reply With Quote
Jul 31, 2014 | 09:45 3 My youngest lamb was born May 12. That makes them 11 to 13 weeks old. I bring them in at night from paddocks that are not connected to the shed pen, so they get "bait" oats twice a day. They know exactly what grain is. No doubt about that. I will have to watch more carefully for how much nursing is going on, I guess. I saw a pair of lambs lift their poor mother right off the ground the other day, so I know they haven't been weaned. Lol. However, I do notice there are smaller udders out there in general.

I also notice my bottle feds are just as big as the nursing lambs, so maybe I'm overthinking this. Reply With Quote
Jul 31, 2014 | 13:41 4 lol, we have a pair of black fellas that lift their mother off the ground when she is not looking. But I have never seen her actually feed them. She simply lifts her legs and walk away in disgust!

I laugh at the seeming un-necessary-ness of the aggressiveness of lambs wishing to nurse. My wife says if our kids had done that she would have banished them to the Falkland islands at a month of age. If they were gentler, I bet the poor ewes would allow all kinds of suckling.

Silly critters. Reply With Quote