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Author Topic: how do i know when lambs are ready to go?  (Read 3484 times)

Clarebelle

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • Orkney
how do i know when lambs are ready to go?
« on: October 03, 2015, 09:30:47 am »
We started our first foray into sheep this year with 4 caddy lambs. They were born in april, three are commercial crosses while the fourth is a Shetland cross. We have just got an old Shetland ewe and seeing her with the lambs made me wonder if the time for the lambs to go is approaching faster than i expected. How do I tell if they are ready for slaughter? One in particular is quite a bit bigger than the Shetland ewe.  :sheep:

Buffy the eggs layer

  • Joined Jun 2010
Re: how do i know when lambs are ready to go?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2015, 10:29:57 am »
Commercial lambs are "ready" much faster than rare breeds and can be finished in 3 months in some systems.


Lambs are ready when they have reached the optimum amount of growth and muscle for your specific breed and the required level of fat if you like fat lambs. I butcher lean lambs and I judge their readiness by their size and their condition. I feel along their backs for the required level of meat coverage.


Handling your sheep is really the only way to tell if they are ready or have run on too long and turned to fat.


HTH

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
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Re: how do i know when lambs are ready to go?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2015, 05:03:18 pm »
Commercial crosses. .. Probably ready a month ago.        Took 3\4 of our slower growing llanwenogs 2 weeks ago, fast going son.
Linda

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shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: how do i know when lambs are ready to go?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2015, 07:14:17 pm »
Could you ask a farmer neighbour to have a look and explain what to look for ?

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: how do i know when lambs are ready to go?
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2015, 10:00:34 pm »
BUT - you are on Orkney and not n the south of England... so I wouldn't worry too much yet. However from now on they may not put much meat on anymore, as grass quality is now declining very rapidly and if these are for your own consumption (and you don't have to reach any kind of target weight) I would just send them off soon-ish. Just to save on feeding concentrates and/or lots of hay.

mrst064

  • Joined Aug 2015
Re: how do i know when lambs are ready to go?
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2015, 11:37:33 pm »
following - got some to go myself and I'm sure they're ok but reading may help me to know more about why...

GrannyAching

  • Joined Apr 2015
  • Pembrokeshire
Re: how do i know when lambs are ready to go?
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2015, 10:20:00 am »
Try these to help.
http://beefandlamb.ahdb.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/brp_l_Understanding_lamb_carcases250713.pdf

http://beefandlamb.ahdb.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/brp-manual-5-Growing-and-finishing-lambs290714.pdf

If they are for you it's whether you want to "pinch and inch or yank a yard". It also depends on the breed. We had Hebs a few years ago and they do not get a big covering of external fat they lay it down in between the muscles so you can have a lot without realising.

I would agree, that if they are for you,and they are not positively skinny,  you could just kill to save on feed costs or you could slaughter sequentially through the winter and decide which was the best finish feel for you. Tim Tyne has a video of how to do your own cutting - http://www.countrysmallholding.com/livestock/killing_and_butchering_sheep_1_3493414
 :thumbsup:

Clarebelle

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • Orkney
Re: how do i know when lambs are ready to go?
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2015, 08:07:34 pm »
Thanks everyone, they are for our own consumption and can go anytime we like so its just a case of whenever we feel they are ready. We have one ram lamb who wasn't castrated so maybe i'll do him soon and see what the carcass is like. They feel nicely round while still being able to feel the backbone so I think they are doing ok.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: how do i know when lambs are ready to go?
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2015, 09:55:19 am »
We had 15 tame lambs this year all commercial crosses, first 3 went away at end of August and now we're down to 7 of which 2 will go at end of the month and others in November.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012

GrannyAching

  • Joined Apr 2015
  • Pembrokeshire
Re: how do i know when lambs are ready to go?
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2015, 10:00:25 am »
I think that's the first one in my list @twizzel  :)

 

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