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When to send off lambs & what to expect back

Could anyone out there who has kept southdown lambs before give me some guidance and advice on expected killing out weights? also the best age for them to go. They were all born the first week of April and have got off to a good start just on grass, my thoughts were for them to go off in October but as this is my first batch to go I am really taking a stab in the dark. Another problem I have is that I do not have any sheep scales and so cannot just send them when they reach a certain weight, I am going to have to rely on age & condition.

I think I have some scales, busy at the mo pls pm me and I'll try to check tomorrow.

10 to msf and they're yours

not a specific observation but age and condition is a good place to start.

another factor is estimating future improvements ( or not ) based on the animal's characteristics and the grazing, fodder, housing etc etc available as well as the costs/market/culinary value etc etc .

as to live wt to dead wt to edible and useful bits wt it depends on the animal's condition and development and on butchery style.

pete2 I would suggest that you talk to a local agricultural college if there is one within a few miles. When I was in studenting days mode, college would find farmers where students could go and show their ability to assess the saleability of various animals. Also it could be an idea to get the local Young Farmers' Club out to have a look, there are lots of stock judging competitions around and they like to get practise in before a competition. Or the NFU may know someone local who could come along and help-you may have to pay the NFU man however! We were always told fit not fat! And possibly the breed society may help or a butcher, but he may have too much bias on what he wants which may not be what the general market wants.

Thanks all - I bumped into another owner of Southdowns last week and he said that he sends his off at six months finished on grass, and as long as they are in good condition they should be fine. I will let you all know how they all do at the end of September along with live/dead weight ratio.

Look forward to hearing how they eat too!
Ty Gwyn

I would have thought Southdowns would finish a lot earlier than 6mths.

Hi, I had one of the lambs home killed three weeks ago - again not sure of any of the weights but finished with not much fat and tasted superb - aged 6.5 months. This week I sent another off but to the abattoir this time aged 7 months, the weight after processing was 21.5kg the grade was R3H. R3H did not mean a lot to me but when I looked it up it appears to be on the higher side (but still within average) fat. Both lambs were left on their mothers for 12 weeks and grass fed, only very occasionally a handful of nuts. Based on the feed regime I feel that 6 to 7 months is about right for finishing Southdowns. I will post the butchers comments and the weight of the finished joints when I have them.
Hope this helps someone.

Thanks for reporting back. Smile
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