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Author Topic: Bought a shepherdess feeder- few tips on weaning etc please  (Read 6996 times)

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Bought a shepherdess feeder- few tips on weaning etc please
« on: February 02, 2013, 06:05:59 pm »
We bought our shepherdess feeder 5 days ago and I must say I'm really impressed with it. The lambs have taken to it very well and are very active and looking very well- not bloated but nice and round. We've got 7 on it now and are using approx 10 litres a day so not a huge amount more than they would be using on the bottle. The bucket seems to last 9 hours and it's filled every 12.
This week I'm going to try and cool the milk temperature down to stop them gorging. Reading on the internet everybody says don't let the feeder get empty but this seems to be nigh on impossible and would quite possibly bankrupt me though the amount of milk powder we would go through! (and I have a couple that are slightly greedier than the others)... so I'm hoping that they will start to take an interest in the creep once the feeder is empty.  The plan is obviously as they get older and bigger they will need to drink more milk, but by keeping the amount of milk in the bucket the same, they will drink it quicker and then start to look for something else to eat, nibble on creep and then I can wean them at 5-6 wks. They are all between 7 and 12 days old and the older ones are starting to show an interest in the creep. Does this plan sound ok? I had it all set out that we would be on bottles this year and how we would wean them off milk but then had the money to buy a shepherdess so the bottle plan went out of the window  :D
 
Oh and my orphan that wouldn't drink is now in with the main pen on the shepherdess, result  :thumbsup:

RichStaffs

  • Joined May 2012
  • Stafford
Re: Bought a shepherdess feeder- few tips on weaning etc please
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2013, 01:13:40 pm »
As long as they are eating plenty of creep and drinking water, i abruptly stop feeding milk at 6 weeks. This doesn't seem to cause any growth check at all and the lambs that have been on the shepherdess are usually as big as the ones on the ewes, despite most being smaller triplets. Last year my lambs (texel and beltex crosses) on the shepherdess used 20kg of milk powder per head from birth to 6 weeks.

Marlboro

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • West Wales
  • 42 sheep, 5 ducks 10 chickens and Meg
Re: Bought a shepherdess feeder- few tips on weaning etc please
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2013, 04:45:12 pm »
The first year, with 20 lambs, we got them onto creep as well as the shepherdess, we tried to always have milk in the bucket and because of the age range I weaned in two stages at probably around an average of seven weeks, they had gone to market fat by the middle of August (well except the girls I kept). I slowly watered the miilk until they were just having water.
 Last year, same number, had read should wean at six weeks and I was very strict about it. They did not fatten nearly so easily had to have feed supplements in the autumn and they went mid October. That said it was a very wet year which seems to have held up the finishing.
Also most both years were a little decrepid in some way, ill, triplet, abandoned by mum, mum died etc.
They are happy with cold milk after two weeks, the bucket doesn't get so horrid.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Bought a shepherdess feeder- few tips on weaning etc please
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2013, 05:44:41 pm »
Hmm that's interesting. We aren't in a hurry for them to finish, currently aiming for end of July for the current batch but that can be flexible. They are starting to nibble creep now, so I think by week 6 I will half the amount of milk in the feeder then cut out completely after a few days of half rations. Did this similarly with the bottle feeding last year and it worked well. Then they can go out at grass to finish with creep for the first few weeks (good grass, we are on a beef farm).
I just don't want them to overload with milk if it is completely ad lib and bloat after eating the creep too (on the other hand don't want to wean them abruptly at 6wks if they aren't interested in the creep because they've always been full on the milk!) so there has to be a happy medium I think...

smiley bucket

  • Joined Mar 2011
Re: Bought a shepherdess feeder- few tips on weaning etc please
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2013, 10:59:30 pm »
If you never let it get empty it will soon start to stink believe me,  they need a jolly good cleaning out at least once a day so don't be taken in by what the advert says.
Pay our politicians minimum wage and watch how fast things change.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Bought a shepherdess feeder- few tips on weaning etc please
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2013, 11:10:46 am »
Yes every time I put fresh milk in I use a different bucket, and clean the tubes/teats every morning.
Going to try splitting the day feed of 5litres into 2 feeds, just need to ensure that the slightly greedier suffolk ewe doesn't get in there first, she's getting strong now and keeps fighting her way through!!

 

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