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Author Topic: Giving ewes a year off?  (Read 269 times)

dixie

  • Joined Mar 2009
Giving ewes a year off?
« on: October 14, 2020, 03:18:58 pm »
Hi all, its been a funny old year and I now have a dilemma? cutting a long story short I have more sheep than I would like due to 'inheriting' 4 extra ewes now with lambs, I had got it down to 6 ewes but now find myself with 9 ewes ( I lost one) and 15 lambs, I only sell the meat to family and friends and am not very good at being a salesperson so having to find 15 freezers is a bit daunting! They won't all be ready to go at the same time and I will hopefully sort it. I lost my old ram too a few weeks ago so would have to hire one, I also have my first grandchild arriving in a couple of months and am considering leaving my ewes empty for a year? Would that have a detrimental effect on them at all? I will miss lambing but having an easy year is tempting? any thoughts please oh wise ones?

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Giving ewes a year off?
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2020, 05:56:03 pm »
No problem at all ,many people do this ,all you have to watch is that they don't get to fat next summer if you want to tup them ,but you should save money on feed this winter for the ewes at least

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Giving ewes a year off?
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2020, 06:17:17 pm »
I think it would all depend on your circumstances and if they don't fit in with lambing next year your doing the right thing to let them have a year off.

Downside is weight, they can put on a lot of weight and then there is the possibility that they won't catch when you do want them to breed.

Totally understand if yours are pet sheep, but in your situation I would thin out the older ewes, or less thrifty ewes and keep the better ones. Or possibly breed them all and sell half the lambs at weaning.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Giving ewes a year off?
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2020, 06:50:22 pm »
...... or sell on a selection of ewes with lambs at foot.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

PipKelpy

  • Joined Mar 2019
  • North Shropshire
  • Dreamer with docile cattle and sheep!
Re: Giving ewes a year off?
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2020, 07:49:03 pm »
Give them and you a year off!!

I chose not to lamb December 2016 and sold off a lot of younger sheep, culled older and kept 13 good ones. The following year I realised I didn't want to do it anymore. The enthusiasm had gone. Every year I looked forward to lambing at Christmas then flogging the lambs for spring market whilst lambing the Shetlands. I was doing it because I had to, not because I wanted to. (Had to have a reason to keep the sheep for costs etc)

Sold more last year and this year flogged the last 3 I could part with. I am left with 5, 2 will be lambing around the same time Mary has her first calf.

Regards to meat, I'm the same as you, family only, though with beef and pork only as I find they quibble when it comes to lamb.(Too big, too small, cheaper in shops etc) I have sold lambs on Preloved advertised suitable for growing on. No fees to pay but deals can be done.
Halter train the cattle to keep them quiet but watch your back when they come a'bulling! Give them all names even those you plan to eat. Always be calm. Most importantly, invest in wellies with steel toe caps and be prepared for the clever cow who knows where the toe caps end!!

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Giving ewes a year off?
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2020, 10:34:30 pm »
There's no problem with keeping most ewes empty for a year, especially primitives (you don't say what breed yours are).  Just don't supplement their feed unless snow is lying - give free hay all winter but no concentrates/grains.
There is also nothing wrong with retiring some of your ewes and keeping them as pets.  Use this year to retire the oldest and breed only the young and fit for 2022. It's your set-up so work it to suit yourself - you make the rules.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

dixie

  • Joined Mar 2009
Re: Giving ewes a year off?
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2020, 10:40:16 pm »
Brilliant thankyou everyone, they are all mule types Heinz 57’s, so just hay no concentrate and don’t let them get fat! Sounds easy enough, hmmm maybe I’ll have a year off then and have more time for a human baby  ;D

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Giving ewes a year off?
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2020, 10:52:40 pm »
Brilliant thankyou everyone, they are all mule types Heinz 57’s, so just hay no concentrate and don’t let them get fat! Sounds easy enough, hmmm maybe I’ll have a year off then and have more time for a human baby  ;D

Oooh!  :love:
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Giving ewes a year off?
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2020, 07:57:00 am »
Ewwww!!  :roflanim:
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

 

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