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Author Topic: At what age to cull  (Read 7032 times)

wellies

  • Joined Jul 2010
  • Shrewsbury
    • Fairfax Ryeland Flock
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At what age to cull
« on: March 19, 2013, 01:23:56 pm »
 Just wanted some idea of when you guys cull your breeding ewes and if you send them to cull market or sell them to people who want non breeding sheep at a cull price? I would love ours to go to a nice retirement home but I know that is not always possible  :-\ so might need to be brave and send them off to market after weaning this year.

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: At what age to cull
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2013, 01:27:33 pm »
I send my culls in after they have put a bit of condition on after weaning. So, some more quickly than others - you will get more for a well-fleshed ewe than a skeleton. Equally, I don't cull things unless they have given me a reason to. If all is sound in mouth and udder, they usually go back to the ram. I have 2 9 year-olds in my flock this year.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: At what age to cull
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2013, 02:18:15 pm »
We haven't culled any yet - our three oldest (born 2007 and all expecting their fifth crop of lambs) are sound in wind, limb, teeth and udder.

I don't think I could put them through the ring - I don't like the thought of them being huckled off on some big trailer to some Halal killing shop somewhere in the midlands or further (yes, I have a vivid imagination) so I suspect we'll take them for slaughter and feed them to the dogs.

wellies

  • Joined Jul 2010
  • Shrewsbury
    • Fairfax Ryeland Flock
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Re: At what age to cull
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2013, 02:53:43 pm »
Thank you both for replying and giving me some thoughts. We have a couple that although have given us good lambs this year have been hard to keep weight on and required quite alot of TLC. Both are good mothers with udder/teeth being fine but one is getting a little arthritic too and looked rather uncomfortable (more so than usual) in the later stages of pregnancy. Will see how they get on with lactating and after weaning 

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: At what age to cull
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2013, 03:18:19 pm »
Lots of sheep have struggled in general this year. I would assess sometime after weaning.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: At what age to cull
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2013, 03:24:22 pm »
If she can't look after herself she'll not be able to look after her lambs.  I've had many 11 crop ewes and aim for longevity - the expense is in getting the ewe to breeding stage - after that it should be them providing you with an income.  I make sure I always keep an old girl that's sound in teeth and feet to be a "Nanny" to the newly weaned ewe lambs.  Being an old ewe she'll immediately become head of the ewe lamb flock and teach them to  come to the bucket or call - much better at training them than I am.

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: At what age to cull
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2013, 03:32:39 pm »
I go by teeth udders and feet. Once they are no good in a major way in any of those then they go off whenever I have some to go,  and I too mainly feed the mutton to the dogs. Except for Sheilashetlandsheep our head girl. She is in lamb this year as her teeth are good and she's well, but if she gets a bit toothless she will for a while at least get special attention and no need to be in lamb as she is the nanny to the youngsters and also a bit of a pet.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: At what age to cull
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2013, 03:47:04 pm »
Same here - if a ewe is sound in all the right places and produces fine lambs then she stays, whatever her age.  We have bred twins from a 15 yo - (Heb of course which is a long-lived breed).
 
I would not put them through a mart.  Call me soft - I feel my old ladies have served me well and will have as easy an end as I can manage for them.  I don't send one on her own, nor do I feed them to the dogs.  Biddies make wonderful burgers and sausages - I get the butcher to mince the lot then I try a variety of different flavours.   They are particularly delicious with a curry sauce  :yum:
 
I have though managed to find two 'retirement homes' for groups of older ewes, at about 8 yo.  Both new owners wanted them as lawn mowers and to look good, and at that age they would get 4 or 5 years from them at least.
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Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: At what age to cull
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2013, 04:34:18 pm »
Biddies make wonderful burgers and sausages - I get the butcher to mince the lot then I try a variety of different flavours.   They are particularly delicious with a curry sauce  :yum:

And this is why I love TAS :thumbsup: Mind you, the dogs won't be so happy  ;)

feldar

  • Joined Apr 2011
  • lymington hampshire
Re: At what age to cull
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2013, 04:46:54 pm »
Oh no, now i feel really bad, our cull ewes all go out through the mart! I hate the place myself but Hubby has no such fear, as soon as the cull ewe price is good they're loaded up and gone. I've learnt not to get attached to them now :'(

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: At what age to cull
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2013, 07:39:39 pm »
We only have a few so we can afford to be a bit soft. We sell our tup lambs as lamb privately too - but it's just not possible for everyone to do that.

It's just bizarre though that lambs go from here to Wales to be slaughtered and lambs come from England to Scotland to be killed depending on which supermarket has bought them. Why don't they kill them near home and sell them deadweight?



Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: At what age to cull
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2013, 08:23:35 pm »
Because to a supermarket the cost savings that result from having a large scale slaughter factory far outweigh the considerations of things like food miles or, Heaven forbid, animal welfare issues caused by long and crowded journeys.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: At what age to cull
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2013, 08:32:39 pm »
But there are large scale slaughter facilities in Wales, Scotland and England - why do Welsh lambs heading to Scotland have to wave to Scottish lambs on the motorway to Wales? It's madness.

colliewoman

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Pilton
  • Caution! May spontaneously talk rabbits!
Re: At what age to cull
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2013, 08:49:35 pm »
I don't cull till I have to. I have some broken mouthed ewes, I have one gummer but they are all in good nick and can eat well. I do use licky buckets and soaked beet pulp which is easy for anything to eat though.
If I have any that I feel it would be unfair/unwise to get in lamb then I would take them to the S/H myself and share with the puppers (it's only me eating meat and limited freezer space).


I keep ewes as long as possible as they have superb immunity to local bugs, they know and trust me and in the Eddy Straiton sheep book (my 'bible'  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sheep-Ailments-TV-Vet-Book/dp/0852362129) the advice he was given when asking how long to keep a ewe was 'till they have been dead 3 days'!
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SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: At what age to cull
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2013, 10:20:59 pm »
I keep ewes as long as possible as they have superb immunity to local bugs, they know and trust me and in the Eddy Straiton sheep book (my 'bible'  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sheep-Ailments-TV-Vet-Book/dp/0852362129) the advice he was given when asking how long to keep a ewe was 'till they have been dead 3 days'!


That advice is possibly wiser in winter.....

 

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