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Marionb

Sheep Questions

Usually I leave my lambs with their mothers until they are sold... however this year I am thinking of weaning them now in a week or two (they were born 2nd week of April). I'm sure I have read somewhere that they actually gain weight better if weaned rather than left on the ewes... is this right?

Also, the lambs began eating sheep cake with their mothers and now go daft when they see me going into the shed to get their cake. They are currently eating ewe super feeder nuts as that's what I was feeding the ewes. I have stopped feeding the ewes and just feed the lambs. The bag is now nearly empty and I'm not sure whether to carry on with the ewe superfeeder nuts or put them onto supergrader lamb pellets. They seem to be doing well on the ewe nuts.... will it harm them/hold them back if I continue to feed them on them rather than lamb pellets?

Any advice gratefully received Very Happy I only have 5 lambs, 6 lambs, by the way Embarassed
Mutton

I have a vague feeling that the ewe nuts might be too heavy in calcium (for the milk production) - you could ask the farm suppliers where you bought them. But might be entirely wrong on that. (I don't wean our lambs, but we don't feed a lot of supplements. What they pick up from the ewe's feed bowl is just a light snack.)
Dogwalker

Do they need extra feed at this time of year?

I only feed the ewes 6 weeks before and 4 weeks after lambing until the grass is growing.
gregotyn

That sounds about right Dogwalker. At college they said 8 weeks steaming up for the ewes prior to lambing; half a pound rising in 2 week intervals and stopping at 8 weeks at 2 lbs per head. Post lambing is geared to your market and as you say how much grass is available and how many lambs the ewe is feeding-we separated the singles and doubles on one farm I was on, as the single mother's were doing too well at the expense of the doubles' mothers.
Most ewes are getting no concentrates here as the grass is growing, and lambs that are being fed are getting fed in a creep feeder which excludes the ewes.
Marionb

Do you wean your lambs, gregotyn?
gregotyn

No I meant corn fed to ewes up to and post lambing, but not post weaning.
Post weaning is another affair. My neighbour never feeds his weaned lambs any corn except for those over wintering, and then not much. And he in particular never creep feeds his lambs, but some folks do creep feed lambs pre weaning, which means they hit the early lamb market and the higher prices.
I don't have any sheep, just telling you of my experiences. Weaning must take place for all lambs that don't get sold fat off the ewe-an abrupt form of weaning, and fed on with/without concentrates. Ewes need to have a 'rest' before they are put to the tup for the next crop of lambs, when they should be got ready for the tup, and in a fit not fat state. Generally big fat ewes often produce big fat lambs leading to difficult births involving your intervention. I hope this makes sense!
Marionb

Thanks, that's very helpful Smile

I've decided to stop feeding them when this bag runs out... I can always put them back on the feed if I feel they aren't doing as well as they could be.

Will also try and wean them later this month.

Smile
gregotyn

If your lambs are late born ie late April then you can leave the lambs on the ewes longer-see how much grazing they are doing as weaning will set them back a bit so make sure you have good clean pasture for them to go to at weaning and poorer ground for the ewes to be turned onto to assist them drying up. My friend on the hills up by me, weans most of his lambs off the ewes to market as fat and he lambs mid April and hasn't thought of weaning yet. I suppose it depends on breeding and height of ground-we are at 1k feet, so it is colder up here. I would ask a local sheep farmer for advice-he will know more than me he is doing the job!
I have checked with my friend and he weans his lambs off the ewes in late August and only onto grass, he only feeds corn to the lambs which over winter-naturally he wants them all to go before he needs to feed them!
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