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Author Topic: Age for a tup lamb to work  (Read 2908 times)

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Age for a tup lamb to work
« on: July 31, 2016, 11:00:40 am »
So we sold our aged tup to a great home - yay!

But I also had several other enquiries from people with small flocks who might be able to use a tup lamb instead (either in the 'coming and then going' sense of the word  ;) , or for a couple of years depending on preference).

We have several good tup lambs this year. My question is, will they definitely be fertile by November? They're Zwartbles, and will be 7 months old by then. Is that reliably old enough for them to work, or  am I safer to refer people on to friends with show flocks who lambed in January instead?
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
Re: Age for a tup lamb to work
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2016, 11:57:39 am »
I lamb middle of march. We sponge our ewes so the bulk of them come into season within 24-48hrs. We use our March born pedigree lambs on the crossbred ewes in middle of October so 7 months. They work fine however we only let them work for those two days as to not stunt their growth and the ewes go out in a larger group after with a mature ram to sweep up any repeats.

I would think if they were in a small flock they would be fine

TheSmilingSheep

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Age for a tup lamb to work
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2016, 12:25:58 pm »
I very much hope it works, since we're using a ram lamb born mid April on our flock mid Novmeber, again 7 months old.  We are retiring his mum though  ;)
I've read that it should be fine - just don't give them too many ewes.
I guess, however, that there's always an inherent risk that the ram just isn't firing live ammunition!

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Age for a tup lamb to work
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2016, 12:37:33 pm »
I can't imagine a 7-month old tup lamb not being able to work.  I've used plenty of tup lambs of various breeds and they've all been ready to work at that age. Admittedly I've no experience of Zwarties, mind. 

I guess, however, that there's always an inherent risk that the ram just isn't firing live ammunition!

Well, that's an inherent risk with any tup, unless buying an aged or otherwise proven one.  And even then, illness could have rendered them infertile since the previous year. 

But in our experience, tups not working is a very uncommon occurrence.   We use 4 or 5 at a time here, all bought unproven apart from the aged Charollais I've mentioned elsewhere; some bought as lambs, most bought as shearlings.  We buy 1, 2 or 3 new ones in every year.  We've had one of our own retained tups fail a couple of times, but have only once in the last 10 years had a purchased tup fail. 

You do need to check his bits over when you buy him though - have a read of the Eblex 'Ram MoT' leaflet.
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

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Age for a tup lamb to work
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2016, 12:45:37 pm »
Thanks all, I've attached a photo of one of the tup lambs just to help with the size they are now.


Naturally none of them would be proven, but I reckon if I advise raddling and changing the colour, if they all 'returned' after first service, that would give a strong hint that all is not well, and would still give time to change tup for a successful lambing.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Age for a tup lamb to work
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2016, 01:04:33 pm »
Most years we have two or three folks who forgot to book a Southdown hire ram early enough and contact us in October in a panic in case we haven't any shearlings left.  Ours only go out once in a season, for biosecurity reasons, so we've often had to send out the oldest of the late March born ram lambs.  I recommend running them with no more than 10 ewes for 4 weeks and the ewes have always got in lamb.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Age for a tup lamb to work
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2016, 01:08:13 pm »
With another three months to grow, I should think they'll be fine.

Yes, good advice about raddling.  Or they could buy two and use them together, or, if they need to keep track, each on half the girls and swap after 17 days.

I bought a Shetland tup lamb from Jaykay, originally intending to use then sell.  He tupped everything he was asked to, including a full-grown NoE Mule.  That last I didn't  take to him until he was 8 months old, and I was still dubious that he'd be able to reach.  I thought she was a-tupping again 17 days later, so moved them onto very uneven ground, thinking they'd find an appropriate height differential to use ;).  In fact, judging by her lambing date, he'd caught her the first time.

I said 'originally intending to use then sell', but of course Jaykay then sold her flock, so my plan of doing the same every year wasn't going to work out.  So I kept him on to see what his lambs were like.  They were excellent, exactly what I wanted. So I kept him and used him again.  And, because we want to merge my flock and the Zwartbles where I'm going, and create a flock with good fleece and a more manageable size than the pure Zwarties, he's had another stay of execution and is going to Cornwall with me, to tup the Zwarty ladies there, and the unrelated girls I take with me.  His own daughters (those I take with me) will get another year to grow.  Fingers crossed the fencing works...
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

Tim W

  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: Age for a tup lamb to work
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2016, 01:39:26 pm »

Our ram lambs get 50 girls each at 7 months old...they are in for 12 days and then replaced with a mature ram. The ram lambs usually cover 35 ewes in this time


Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Age for a tup lamb to work
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2016, 01:42:44 pm »
I bought a Shetland tup lamb from Jaykay, originally intending to use then sell.


Actually so did we (via Bloomer), and he managed fine too. It seems that where there's a willy there's a way!  ;D
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Age for a tup lamb to work
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2016, 03:10:47 pm »
Mine are ready to work by the end of the year, we lamb april-may and have had crops of lambs from ram lambs before
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

Hellybee

  • Joined Feb 2010
    • www.blaengwawrponies.co.uk
Re: Age for a tup lamb to work
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2016, 06:28:54 pm »
our Des first year tupping last season, he was a shearling. Give em a couple a wifeys n  see how they go?

fsmnutter

  • Joined Oct 2012
  • Fettercairn, Aberdeenshire
Re: Age for a tup lamb to work
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2016, 08:33:10 pm »

Our ram lambs get 50 girls each at 7 months old...they are in for 12 days and then replaced with a mature ram. The ram lambs usually cover 35 ewes in this time
35/50 is perfect in 12 days as a cycle is 17 days so that's the ratio you'd expect to cycle during that period.
We used a hebridean ram lamb last year, put out at 7 months old, and he had covered 17/23 in 17 days, then he shared the rest with an older sweeper ram for nearly 2 more cycles and 2 ewes didn't take after that, so we were quite happy with him.

 

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