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Author Topic: how early can you wean?  (Read 3064 times)

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
how early can you wean?
« on: June 23, 2013, 08:51:27 pm »
I'm having real problems keeping my sheep in the correct fields!  >:( The farm is designed around cattle so the fencing is cattle fencing. There is no way I can fence the fields for permanent sheep grazing so I have to use electric fencing and flexi nets.  The rest are getting out is because of the lambs, they find a gap our just walk through the live wires and go eat the on the other side, they shout for mum and she goes running... Big circle, they all get out.

I've got commercial breeds and some very chunky lambs! The ewes are coping so well but to be honest I'd like to sell the lambs as soon as I can and restore the peace for our poor neighbours who are keeping eyes peeled for runaways!

They are April born lambs and I've got one entire ram lamb who I don't want covering any ewes or ewe lambs. I understand its stressful but I can offer ad-bid feed when needed.

Any advice
Voss Electric Fence

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: how early can you wean?
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2013, 09:07:49 pm »
It is really too early to wean April lambs if you want them to finish well. Keeping sheep behind electric fences isn't too tricky once you get the system right.


You need at least 4 strands of wire, not polywire and a fencer with a decent kick. make sure the bottom two strands are good and low. Prevent shorting with regular strimming.

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
Re: how early can you wean?
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2013, 10:44:16 am »
I didn't mean now I just ment when can you wean at the earliest?

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: how early can you wean?
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2013, 12:23:13 pm »
I thought earliest to wean is 4mths but stand corrected if wrong. Just wanted to say I feel your pain- ours are kept on a cattle farm too and last week the lambs escaped into a shut off silage field and took the freshly weaned calves with them! OH's dad was not impressed... but we did warn him the field wasn't sheep proof...

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: how early can you wean?
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2013, 12:27:49 pm »
April-born lambs are traditionally weaned on the same day in August.  If you're desperate you could probably do it a week or two earlier.   I believe and hope that the lambs will become more manageable as they grow - the electric fence will start to affect them more as they get bigger ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

devonlad

  • Joined Nov 2012
  • Nr Crediton in Devon
Re: how early can you wean?
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2013, 07:01:02 pm »
Hope this isnt hijacking or piggy backing but I wondered on the weaning front about not weaning at all. in previous years we have always taken the lambs away at 16 weeks (which is about 4 weeks time) but i have read in some places that there is a school of thought that says they will naturally wean off if you leave them. the only reason we are thinking of it this time is due to practicalities- someone _ that'll be me left more behind than should have been left when banding and as a result we will need to keep the boys and girls apart as they get older. the girls will all be kept to breed from so any problem with leaving them on theri mums and letting nature do its thing, whilst taking the boys away and feeding them on for an early finish. obviouly we want the mums to have ample time to recover before going back to the ram in November. apologies for jumoing in but hope any advice is usueful to others anyway cheers :)

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: how early can you wean?
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2013, 08:51:17 pm »
We don't wean, unless there's a reason to, up until getting close to tupping.  Most of our lambs will be away in their first season anyway, so a lot of the ewes get weaned as their lambs are sent away.  Like you, we have quite a few boys left entire, so they get collected up and taken off before they are likely to find any mischief (which we didn't do early enough last year - note to self, remember to do this before the end of August this year ;).) 

Assuming you won't breed your keeping ewe lambs this year, there'll be a point at which you separate them from the ewes before the tup goes in in any case, so that would be when they get weaned.

If the grass is poor, and/or the ewes seem in poor condition, you might decide to bring that forward.  Otherwise if the ewes seem healthy and well-fleshed, and are on good grass, then there probably isn't much harm done leaving their daughters with them up until maybe a month before tupping.

If you like to flush your ewes hard, then this might not be long enough; the ewes may need a couple of months to recover.  We're at the other end of the spectrum, we'd prefer every ewe to have a good strong single, so we try to not flush. 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
Re: how early can you wean?
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2013, 12:29:54 pm »
Devon lad please do not worry, its all very interesting and its on the same subject!

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: how early can you wean?
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2013, 01:53:57 pm »
We don't castrate our ram lambs so wean them at the end of August (we lambed 30th March to 13th April this year). In previous years, I have also taken the ewe lambs away for a week to let the ewes dry up then put them back in and that's worked fine. This year, I'm kind of minded to let the ewe lambs self wean and take them out before the tup goes in. The ewes are in good condition so there should be no problem leaving the lambs on.

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
Re: how early can you wean?
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2013, 05:48:17 pm »
Rosemary, have they ever covered a ewe in that period? My rig lamb is currently harrassing one of my shearlings and is even getting his man bits out when trying!

 

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