Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Advice needed for new keeper  (Read 3855 times)

craiglockwood

  • Joined May 2009
  • South Wales
    • Website
Advice needed for new keeper
« on: February 19, 2011, 10:42:32 am »
I already keep chickens, ducks & pigs - the next step is to raise a few lambs for meat.

Is it feasible to raise 3 lambs - 2 will go for slaughter when ready whilst one is used to produce the next 'batch'.  Our intention in to never keep more than 3 or 4.

Also - I have been looking at strip grazing on our 5 acre field - would one of those 50m electric netting packs:( http://www.molevalleyfarmers.com/mvf/store/products/electrified-sheep-netting-50m ) be secure and large enough for a small flock.   I would use a stock fence as a boundary so the 50m netting would cover 3 sides.

Any help greatly appreciated.

daddymatty82

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • swindon
Re: Advice needed for new keeper
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2011, 12:56:39 pm »
so how will you be producing the next batch?  my advice is yes do get 3-4 strip feed is a good idea but i found electric netting ours tend to go through anyway and have caused the nasty death of a few so will never use it again as sheep want more alwayts want more so will try to push the boundry they get court up in the netting as its very flexable  stock fencing is not we strip feed when we cut the hay and use 3 strands of tape. there is less chance of trapping them. what breed you going for? how much meat you want from each lamb? how quick a turn over you want?

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Advice needed for new keeper
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2011, 01:06:29 pm »
I would agree on tape much less chance of them getting caught up and if the do get through and its only being used as an internal fence no problem.
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craiglockwood

  • Joined May 2009
  • South Wales
    • Website
Re: Advice needed for new keeper
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2011, 01:11:19 pm »
Not thought of breeds or anything yet, just wondering if 3-4 sheep is feasible at this stage.  Obviously, I realise that a ram would be needed to produce the next 'batch'. 

The field is stock fenced but we would need to fence off area for sheep as we keep donkeys in field.

daddymatty82

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • swindon
Re: Advice needed for new keeper
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2011, 02:01:39 pm »
depending how long a turnover you want will decide between certain breeds  as in we got shetlands  imo the best meat around but the price you pay is you got to wait longer for maturity and you dont  get as much carcase back but then go for a a comercial breed and you will get more meat but wont taste as good but then all home grown meat tastes better but i dont eat any other lamb at all no more. we not sent any off for a long while and its been over a year since i last had lamb

Frieslandfilly

  • Joined Apr 2009
Re: Advice needed for new keeper
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2011, 02:38:43 pm »
I would at least have 4, that way when 2 go off the others have still got one another, they are a flock animal after all.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Advice needed for new keeper
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2011, 06:29:14 pm »
I don't think keeping one is feasible - as freislandfilly says they are flock animals and need company of their own kind.

We had three ewes, bought as ewe lambs and lambed as gimmers, to start but took them to a friend's to be tupped, since it wasn't worth keeping a tup for three. We put their lambs in the freezer - well, the tup lambs as we're still expanding the flock so retained female lambs.

We have Ryelands and slaughtered the tups at 7 months, 52kg live weight / 26kg deadweight. Should have put them away a month earlier. The meat is beautiful.

Cinderhills

  • Joined Jul 2010
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Advice needed for new keeper
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2011, 09:13:39 pm »

We have Ryelands and slaughtered the tups at 7 months, 52kg live weight / 26kg deadweight. Should have put them away a month earlier. The meat is beautiful.

I agree.  We have Ryelands too and the meat is fantastic, although I have not tried home-reared meat from other breeds.

Rosemary - that's a fantastic dead weight. Our ram lamb was 23kg and we were very pleased with that.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Advice needed for new keeper
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2011, 10:04:08 am »
I would never use electric mesh temporary netting for sheep, for the same reasons daddymatty quotes.  It might be just possible to get it taut enough on a straight stretch, but even then you would have to check the animals contantly.  I have not used tape so I can't comment there.

I would suggest that if you want to continue and breed your own stock the following year - which is a great idea - you buy your females (always at least 2) for breeding more carefully than the males for meat. For one thing, many breeds should not be bred in their first year, so you would be better to buy in gimmer shearlings, slightly more expensive but ready to breed in the autumn.  But the main point is that for further breeding you want good sound stock, rather than just any old animal which happens to be available - this will be less exopensive in the long run as ewes destined for breeding will be stronger and less prone to expensive vet bills.  When choosing your breed, as well as how long the lambs take to be ready for slaughter, you need to consider how many lambs each breed tends to have, as some are more prolific than others.  Similarly some breeds require more management input than others, and some are more difficult for the inexperienced to deal with at shearing time.

An alternative to using temporary fencing is to divide your field into smaller paddocks with stob and mesh fencing, and rotate the grazing that way - this is what we do.  It is more expensive initially, as you have to put in gates as well, but more satisfactory in the long run.
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waterhouse

  • Guest
Re: Advice needed for new keeper
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2011, 11:14:03 pm »
I agree with Fleecewife.  I hate netting.   Tape will work but I suggest using wooden poles for the corners so you can get some tension into the tape - saggy tape will cause trouble.  If you have lambs you will need at least four 20mm tapes though rope (not string) will be as effective and less visually intrusive.  And wool is a good insulator so you need an energiser, preferably mains, with a real kick.

Horses are much easier to fence....

 

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