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Author Topic: Never breed a lamb before but ...  (Read 7020 times)

Brucklay

  • Joined Apr 2010
  • Perthshire
    • Brucklay Pygmy Goats
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Re: Never breed a lamb before but ...
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2015, 01:55:46 pm »
From what I've heard we may be in for a hard winter up here so you may not need to worry about her getting fat.


Oh that will because we're moving down the glen - less wind than here but more snow!! Better get on with those Landy jobs or we may never get there!!


Looking out the window at the horrid weather outside I'm now swinging back to no. Thanks for all the imput, great to have lots of views to consider  :thumbsup:
Pygmy Goats, Shetland Sheep, Zip & Indie the Border Collies, BeeBee the cat and a wreak of a building to renovate!!
Voss Electric Fence

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Never breed a lamb before but ...
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2015, 04:43:23 pm »
How much would your 11 sets of twins weigh dw? How long would they take to finish? How many ewes per acre are you running? How high is your land? Is it reseeded? Flukey? How much do you spend per ewe per year on feed? Is your land free, paid for by the government (SFP) or do your ewes have to pay rent, you and the bills?

Certainly in my situation it makes sense to breed ewe lambs, but with claims like 11 crops of twins - I am interested! My Lleyn (who do not have an easy life) wouldn't last beyond six before they are gone.

I sell off the unwanted ram lambs at market as stores immediately after weaning.  Best ram lambs are retained for hire rams for the folks that have bought ewe lambs from us in the past.  Ewe lambs are sold for breeding or kept as replacements.  Any not up to scratch the following Spring are slaughtered as hoggetts.  Badger Face are put to a Southdown ram every other year and the lambs sold as fat lamb at around 24 weeks. We are on an exposed hilltop, ancient meadow, no fluke.  I feed the ewes in the six weeks before lambing and four weeks after.  No other feed for any stock.  I think one of the great strengths of native breeds is their ability to finish on grass.  Sure, you may miss the highest prices but no-one ever boasts about how many kilos of cake they've put into that pen of prizewinning fat lambs at market.

sabrina

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Never breed a lamb before but ...
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2015, 06:23:18 pm »
My local farmer does this but he lambs early. The young ones he tups later to lamb April which is 8wks after the ewes. I think he ends up with single lambs but he seems happy with this.

Porterlauren

  • Joined Apr 2014
Re: Never breed a lamb before but ...
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2015, 07:40:45 pm »
I notice folks who put ewe lambs to the tup never say how many crops of lambs they expect to get from them over a lifetime.  Our go to the tup at 18 months old and we expect at least six crops and average 8, sometimes running to 11.  Most will have twins every time.  The older the ewe the more confident you can be of her health (otherwise you'd have culled her or she'd have died), which she will hopefully pass on to her offspring, and the less likely she is to be slow in mothering up, in my experience.

I'd expect them to have a single as a lamb and twins every year after until there teeth go or they develop some other cullable offence! Without being funny, to average 8 crops of lambs across a whole flock, it must either be a fairly small flock, or you are very lucky and have to cull almost no ewes, or have no ewes die before their time! That wasn't meant offensively by the way, i'm just impressed.

With regard to ewes lasting, I cannot imagine why lambing as a well grown ewe lamb, would lessen its productivity or life span? I have a load of hoggs that lambed this year, that have been weaned now. They have all done their lambs well, and they are as well grown as those that didn't lamb, and the older ewes. My biggest concern to be honest is the fatness of the few ewe lambs who didn't get in lamb and so have run on a year of just eating. To be honest, they should probably have been sold, but I need the numbers and have not put a foot wrong in any other way, so they are still here.

As i've said, I will be tupping about 65 of my own ewe lambs this year, that's a lot of mouths and a lot of grass if they don't produce a lamb until they are basically two years old! I would hope to get around 60 lambs out of them next spring, which even at £50 a lamb, will give me £3000 to add to my bottom line, which is not to be sniffed at. Especially when the alternative is renting ground to just graze sheep!

With regard to the unknown quantity of the ewe lamb, all first time lambers here, go to a terminal sire (a little french pig), which allows me to assess their worth, and not have to add their lambs to the flock.

With regard to age. . . . . the oldest ewes being tupped this year will have been born in 2008. They have had a single lamb as a ewe lamb, and a set of twins every year there after. . . . . . without being ever fed anything at all, what so ever!


Tim W

  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: Never breed a lamb before but ...
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2015, 08:36:57 pm »
i lamb 200 -ish ewe lambs every year. A ewe that lambs as a lamb will have an increased lifetime output and be a better mother for it
Having just done a quick analysis of the last 9 years data I find there is no difference in age of leaving the flock (cull/die) between those that lamb at a year or 2 years old

My method is to put any lamb over 36-ish kg to the tup-----use a teaser to get them cycling. Put the ram in at the same time as the mature girls get a ram , scan in Feb and then put the in lamb ewes with the main flock to lamb together
Most just get on with it , some will struggle but even if they have a dead lamb they recover well and know what the game is next time round   

lambing ewe lambs (especially to a hi-index tup) increases your rate of genetic gain----many of the rams i use or sell are out of ewe lambs . I was selecting April born ram lambs today and 16 of 38 from one flock were out of ewe lambs , all over 46kg

Keepers

  • Joined Jul 2015
Re: Never breed a lamb before but ...
« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2015, 09:27:12 pm »
I put all my ewe lambs to the tup if they look big enough/mature enough

They make for better mothers and are always caught up on growth before tupping the next year, upon tupping the next year they are indistinguishable from the ones which didnt lamb
My ewes do not get fed cake pre or after lambing, I thought "native" breeds were supposed to be so tough and hardy that they do not need feeding pre or post lambing and can do just off forage.......... just like my sheep can do :)

I tupped 10 shetlands/shetland cross ewe lambs last year and out of those 8 lambed this year, they are all in good condition now and weaned the lambs very well, all of those lambs are far bigger than the mothers already, I have never tupped shetlands as ewe lambs before and never will again as I wont have any more here, but they did work very well, didnt pull a single lamb from them and they all had singles

This year I am putting 50 texel cross ewe lambs, 12 charmoise cross ewe lambs and 7 pure charmoise ewe lambs to the ram alongside all of the ewes


SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Never breed a lamb before but ...
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2015, 12:28:47 am »
My ewes do not get fed cake pre or after lambing, I thought "native" breeds were supposed to be so tough and hardy that they do not need feeding pre or post lambing and can do just off forage.......... just like my sheep can do :)

Mine would if they were in Reading!
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

Keepers

  • Joined Jul 2015
Re: Never breed a lamb before but ...
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2015, 08:48:28 am »
My ewes do not get fed cake pre or after lambing, I thought "native" breeds were supposed to be so tough and hardy that they do not need feeding pre or post lambing and can do just off forage.......... just like my sheep can do :)

Mine would if they were in Reading!

Very true!!

Sorry I was more referring to the awful lot of breeders of lowland sheep who live on lush grass, yet are fed an awful lot of days of the year! to me that slightly defeats the object  ::)

I live in an area where I have amazing amounts of grass from September through to April/May, unfortunately in between this is stops growing and turns very very very brown, my whole area does and the dairy cows often have to be fed winter ration after April/may time up until september, then start again in November

So its really hard to figure out sheep to thrive like this, they have to gain weight very quickly before tupping (only have a month and a half to do it) and they have lots of grass whilst lambing

However after they all have the lambs and are put outdoors, they have to eat twigs and dead grass for the rest of the summer, hence why I changed to charmoise as a tup as the lambs could survive and stay in condition through these times when the lambs from the other breeds just turn store

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Never breed a lamb before but ...
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2015, 08:56:07 am »
I'd never thought about that, grass shortages over summer...  :thinking:  Not something we see here, except wen the grass is so wet all year round it has no feed value.

Makes you wonder whether we should go back to a summer shieling type setup - summer on the high ground, down to the lowlands for winter.
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

Keepers

  • Joined Jul 2015
Re: Never breed a lamb before but ...
« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2015, 09:07:52 am »

I'd never thought about that, grass shortages over summer...  :thinking:  Not something we see here, except wen the grass is so wet all year round it has no feed value.

Makes you wonder whether we should go back to a summer shieling type setup - summer on the high ground, down to the lowlands for winter.

That would work really well! if only we could, some of my ewes and lambs had to go onto hay this summer, I couldnt really do anything else, I also sold lambs as soon as they got to 40kilo, although a few slipped through and made it up to the 50's, I thought by doing this it would reduce pressure as soon as possible

I wonder how far people actually used to move their sheep to get to summer/winter grazing, I suppose they would have been walked a long time ago!

This was my "Lush" conservation grazing this year, I could only put charmoise sheep and exlanas on to it as the mules could not live on it, I didnt really know how the charmoise lived on it to be honest but the exlanas struggled



The rest of the "good" grazing looks like this from May, up until 3-4 weeks ago when it has turned into spring grass :D







Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Never breed a lamb before but ...
« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2015, 07:57:24 pm »
Makes you wonder whether we should go back to a summer shieling type setup - summer on the high ground, down to the lowlands for winter.
It's why the Down sheep are so docile - the sheep were taken to the hills (chalk hills - first high ground after the English Channel, with all that goes with that in the Winter) every day, cropped the short grass then went back to the in-bye land at night, spreading fertility in the form of their dung.  Since the shepherd was with them all day for so many generations it had a considerable effect on their temperament.  Many Welsh farmers still graze the sheep on the mountains in summer only and bring them in-bye for Winter.

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Never breed a lamb before but ...
« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2015, 08:13:17 pm »
lambing ewe lambs (especially to a hi-index tup) increases your rate of genetic gain-

It certainly increases the genetic gain in quantified traits (EBVs), I'm not sure though if there could be hidden consequences, if you reversed it and only kept replacements from your oldest ewes you would be selecting for good feet, mastitis resistance, teeth etc by default and general survivability in your system. Breeding replacements from unproven lambs these longevity type traits could suffer.


Tim W

  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: Never breed a lamb before but ...
« Reply #27 on: September 04, 2015, 10:21:56 pm »
lambing ewe lambs (especially to a hi-index tup) increases your rate of genetic gain-

It certainly increases the genetic gain in quantified traits (EBVs), I'm not sure though if there could be hidden consequences, if you reversed it and only kept replacements from your oldest ewes you would be selecting for good feet, mastitis resistance, teeth etc by default and general survivability in your system. Breeding replacements from unproven lambs these longevity type traits could suffer.

Agree--- and as long as we don't ONLY use young tups /ewe lambs we should be fine.....also need to consider that the ewe lambs /ram lambs may be out of ewe lambs that come from very old proven sires /dams?
Plus of course a decent breeder keeps good , accurate and accessible data about these things (longevity/mastitis/feet etc)
As always data is king!

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Never breed a lamb before but ...
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2015, 09:08:23 am »
So easy to improve things as a flock (if you have the will to do it), but so hard to get it right every time!

 

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