The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: Border Lady on January 04, 2016, 11:10:53 pm

Title: Housing ewes
Post by: Border Lady on January 04, 2016, 11:10:53 pm
Hi There,
We're after a bit of advice.
We are new to small holding and have 15 white face Dartmoor shearlings tupped  in October on our single 6 acre paddock. The paddock is clay over granite, south facing on a slope and wet!!   :gloomy:
We are currently feeding 18% ewe nuts and home grown haylage, the ewes are in good condition but we are considering housing them in our barn from now until lambing in mid March due to the ground being so wet.
Any advice about whether we should house  now or not would be most welcome. We need to gather them up anyway for their Heptovac P end of this month.
Title: Re: Housing ewes
Post by: Backinwellies on January 05, 2016, 08:30:10 am
Mine are already in (with access to a small paddock which they use when its not raining!) ... ground was just too wet and being ruined by paddly sheep feet .... not sure why you are already feeding nuts though... mine just get hay and a lick bucket.  feeding starts 8 weeks before lambing here... 

where are you going to turn mums and lambs out too if you only have one field?

As long as housing is spacious and airy I would  get them in
Title: Re: Housing ewes
Post by: Marches Farmer on January 05, 2016, 08:44:00 am
Get 'em in and consider spliting the grazing into three for next year.  If you have good hay and they're in good condition they won't need additional feed until six weeks before lambing - if they get too fat now you'll have enormous lambs and likely need the vet out.  We housed ours in an atrocious January a couple of Winters ago and just turned them out for a few days to clean the shed ready for lambing, although we hurdled off the mothering up pens before we put them in, to keep them clean for the lambs.  If you get them in now the grass will have a chance to grow slowly over the next couple of months and lessen the likelihood of Grass Staggers (hypomagnesaemia) when they're turned out with their lambs.
Title: Re: Housing ewes
Post by: shep53 on January 05, 2016, 01:03:26 pm
Sounds like bringing them inside is the way to go , this will as said allow the grass recovery ready for lambing and yes it would be ideal to split the paddock up ,even with electric fencing  this might allow you to make hay on an acre or two next summer .   The barn needs to allow plenty of wind above sheep level the temp inside the barn should be the same or cooler then outside ,  inside they will use large amounts of straw / sawdust / woodchips to keep clean and dry .        Since you are already feeding concs and are only 9-10 wks pre lambing don't stop  or you may create more problems (  have a look at flat rate feeding )   .     have you scanned ??            Don't be in too big a rush to give hep p  , you are boosting immune levels for the colostrum  , if all your sheep lamb in 1wk then   end of jan ok but since they probably wont then  some time in the first half of feb will cover all
Title: Re: Housing ewes
Post by: Hellybee on January 05, 2016, 01:36:15 pm
Echo shep get them scanned, then you can treat each scanned group accordingly
Title: Re: Housing ewes
Post by: Border Lady on January 06, 2016, 09:34:20 pm
Hi All,

Many thanks for comments,  much appreciated. From your advice we have decided to house the ewes to save the field. We have plenty of reasonable quality haylage to feed them. Just to clarify we are only feeding "bribery nuts" to keep them friendly and because our soil analysis showed low copper and iodine. The benefit of "bribery nuts" has been that we can condition score on a regular basis whilst they are eating and we are happy that they are not too fat. Advice on splitting the paddock with electric fencing has been very helpful.

Thanks Guys
Title: Re: Housing ewes
Post by: shep53 on January 07, 2016, 12:20:03 pm
Sounds like you have it all under control ,  are you using a bolus to correct the deficiency ??        The BEST management tool for all sheep keepers is regular CONDITION SCORING  and its FREE :sheep:
Title: Re: Housing ewes
Post by: lintmill on January 07, 2016, 05:22:46 pm
Sheep will pass thru electric fencing (wire or rope)  it would have to be properly stock fenced.  In my humble opinion.....
Title: Re: Housing ewes
Post by: shep53 on January 07, 2016, 08:44:54 pm
While electric wires are not 100% they are easy /quick /flexible  and so long as they are kept tight and a  good battery / mains system they are effective , especially if the sheep are trained to understand them .                       As an alternative  you  can buy sheep nets and posts and use as temporary fencing and then use as permanent fencing at a later date
Title: Re: Housing ewes
Post by: nimbusllama on January 08, 2016, 08:15:33 am
Electric netting may not be an option if your ram lambs will have horns?  The main thing is to avoid the wires touching the long grass to prevent shorting and loosing power.  Stock fencing is worth the trouble in the long run.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Housing ewes
Post by: Marches Farmer on January 08, 2016, 08:58:35 am
I agree and if you have Down sheep they're so well insulated they just walk straight over electric fencing and don't feel a thing.