Weaning half the lambs

JoeFo

Member
What is people’s approach to weaning? Thinking of weaning half the lambs (larger ones) and leaving the smaller ones with the ewes for another few weeks until bigger. Any issues with this, what are people’s approach?
 

DB67

Member
Location
Scotland
What is people’s approach to weaning? Thinking of weaning half the lambs (larger ones) and leaving the smaller ones with the ewes for another few weeks until bigger. Any issues with this, what are people’s approach?

if all same age better weaning smaller ones as there not doing aswell, if you have fresh grass for the lambs to go on. Alternatively if your keeping the ewe lambs, wean the wethers and leave ewe lambs on with ewes to tidy up spare older grass.
 
I wouldn't worry about weaning the smaller lambs. One of the few partly scientific experiments we did here one year was to weigh a sample of lambs 2 weeks before weaning, at weaning and 2 weeks after. They had put most weight in in the 2 weeks after weaning. This was weaning onto a nice bite of after grass though not just taking the ewes away.
 

Al R

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Wales
I’ve got 250 lambs being weaned today as the mothers are being culled. About 150 will be weaned next week and the rest will be in 2 weeks time.
Anything over 35kg will be left on the mothers as they’d be gone fat within 2-3 weeks so pointless breaking a lamb to try and regain it. This year I’ll be weaning 40% of my lamb crop, take ewe lambs out and I’ll have 20% of lamb crop left as stores, probably could’ve killed another 5% but I’ve been going a few kg/dw heavier than normal.
 
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Spoke to a former sheep farmer of the year about this. His contention was that after about 90 days lambs are getting minimal milk but they trail round after their mothers. She gets first bite at everything and craps on the rest. Even if there's no aftermath or whatever, they'll do better if they are getting first chance of what there is. My lambs have grown better following his advice than they did before.
 
Spoke to a former sheep farmer of the year about this. His contention was that after about 90 days lambs are getting minimal milk but they trail round after their mothers. She gets first bite at everything and craps on the rest. Even if there's no aftermath or whatever, they'll do better if they are getting first chance of what there is. My lambs have grown better following his advice than they did before.
 

David.

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
J11 M40
Spoke to a former sheep farmer of the year about this. His contention was that after about 90 days lambs are getting minimal milk but they trail round after their mothers. She gets first bite at everything and craps on the rest. Even if there's no aftermath or whatever, they'll do better if they are getting first chance of what there is. My lambs have grown better following his advice than they did before.
Ewes bags blow up fairly alarmingly when you draw her lambs for killing at 12 weeks.
I always take that to mean they are still getting a fair drop.. interesting what you say though.
 

Al R

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Wales
Ewes bags blow up fairly alarmingly when you draw her lambs for killing at 12 weeks.
I always take that to mean they are still getting a fair drop.. interesting what you say though.
Spoke to a former sheep farmer of the year about this. His contention was that after about 90 days lambs are getting minimal milk but they trail round after their mothers. She gets first bite at everything and craps on the rest. Even if there's no aftermath or whatever, they'll do better if they are getting first chance of what there is. My lambs have grown better following his advice than they did before.
I’ve heard this and seen the figures etc that proved it, I sent lambs off yesterday, went through bags today on those fields and had 70 ewes off the lambs grazing platform. Those bags were full, some ewes couldn’t run but had to walk in as bags were full, all ewes had lambed by March 15th in those fields so still plenty of milk in them!
 
Ewes bags blow up fairly alarmingly when you draw her lambs for killing at 12 weeks.
I always take that to mean they are still getting a fair drop.. interesting what you say though.
I think it all depends on breed. My terminals didn't bag up much at all at 14 weeks. The main flock do a bit, with poor feed after weaning no issue really.
 

DB67

Member
Location
Scotland
Spoke to a former sheep farmer of the year about this. His contention was that after about 90 days lambs are getting minimal milk but they trail round after their mothers. She gets first bite at everything and craps on the rest. Even if there's no aftermath or whatever, they'll do better if they are getting first chance of what there is. My lambs have grown better following his advice than they did before.

we Used to wean at 14-16 weeks but now 10-12. Been weaning early April born lamns this week and getting them on better grass. If you’ve loads of grass and lambs are doing well then by all means leave them with mothers but when things are getting barer I feel the lambs dlwg will just drop as you get through July.
 

PhilipB

Member
I wouldn't worry about weaning the smaller lambs. One of the few partly scientific experiments we did here one year was to weigh a sample of lambs 2 weeks before weaning, at weaning and 2 weeks after. They had put most weight in in the 2 weeks after weaning. This was weaning onto a nice bite of after grass though not just taking the ewes away.


Interesting.

I'd understood that lambs "go back" at weaning from the distress.
 

andybk

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Mendips Somerset
Interesting.

I'd understood that lambs "go back" at weaning from the distress.
a lot depends on age and how rumen is developed and stress , we always gently draft ewes first , leave lambs where they are so they are in familiar surroundings , (a creep gate into another field for a few days is ideal ) then move lambs a few weeks later if needed ,
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
What is people’s approach to weaning? Thinking of weaning half the lambs (larger ones) and leaving the smaller ones with the ewes for another few weeks until bigger. Any issues with this, what are people’s approach?
I'd do the opposite, as per NeilO's post. Wean scrubbers off, put them on best feed, follow with big lambs & ewes, and clean up with the drying-off ewes. Keeps them 3(+) paddocks apart so they have less chance of unweaning themselves.
 

Sandpit Farm

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Derbyshire
Has anybody experimented with restricting lambs on something like straw for a day or two? Although there is that initial separation anxiety, when they are let out they have an appetite and just plough on. I'm not sure about this approach but would be interested to see if others have tried it.

Naturally, I guess putting ewes onto a low energy diet for a day or two may slacken the bags quicker but I'm not sure about housing them as that'd be a mastitis risk surely.
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Has anybody experimented with restricting lambs on something like straw for a day or two? Although there is that initial separation anxiety, when they are let out they have an appetite and just plough on. I'm not sure about this approach but would be interested to see if others have tried it.

Naturally, I guess putting ewes onto a low energy diet for a day or two may slacken the bags quicker but I'm not sure about housing them as that'd be a mastitis risk surely.

I never see much stress when I wean lambs, not from the lambs anyway. If they have a nice bite to go to they seem to forget about their mum’s pretty quickly, ungrateful little soda.

The ewes pine, and make a lot of noise, for a lot longer ime.
 

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Five nature-recovery projects spanning 100,000ha launched

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Written by Michelle Martin from Agriland

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Five nature-recovery projects spanning nearly 100,000ha across the West Midlands, Cambridgeshire, the Peak District, Norfolk and Somerset have been announced by the government and Natural England today (Thursday, May 26).

This is the equivalent in size to all 219 current National Reserves.

The aim of the projects is to deliver nature recovery at a landscape scale, helping to tackle biodiversity loss, climate change and improve public health and well-being.

All five projects will make a significant contribution towards the national delivery of the international commitment to protect at least 30% of land and...
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