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Author Topic: Feeding Lambs  (Read 8190 times)

Nic Flan

  • Joined Sep 2010
  • West Dorset UK
Feeding Lambs
« on: September 17, 2010, 11:54:31 am »

Moved into a small holding in July. Inherited 5 pregnant ewes which lambed beginning of August, 8 weeks ago. I've been told this is not the normal lambing time etc.

The ewes are I believe a bit out of condition, i.e. visible backbone, but otherwise they look healthy. Three questions:

1) The old guy we bought the place off said I should be feeding them some nuts (supplementary) feed. Is this correct ?

2) When should I take the lambs away from the ewes.

3)Should I feed them creep.

I don't know if it makes any difference to the answers, but I don't think we will borrow a tup this year to cover the ewes.




  • Joined Jun 2008
Re: Feeding Lambs
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2010, 01:57:40 pm »
Hi Nic.  What breed of sheep do you have?  Polled Dorsets (which I keep) can lamb at any time of year as do a small number of other breeds.  However, the usual lambing time is spring (ish) this can be as early as late December and as late as May.  This is because most sheep have a breeding 'season' which lasts from August(ish) to late November with a gestation period of around 158 days (give or take 10-20 days depending on breed).  So moving to your questions:

1.  If the sheep are looking thin, it could be because they've just lambed.  They will definitely need some ewe nuts as they need to produce milk to feed their lambs as well as themselves.  Might be an idea to get them a decent mineral lick as well - all available from your farm supplier who will advise you on the best product.

2.  The lambs can be weaned any time after 12 weeks of age, although I usually leave it longer and sometimes, if there is no reason to wean them, I will leave them with their mothers for as long as possible. Some will do this differently.   But that said, ensure they are weaned well before you put the ram in with them next time, if you bother to breed this year, so they can be in top condition in time to lamb again.

3.  The lambs can be given creep after around 4 weeks of age.   If you are fattening them to eat then this is definitely advisable.

Hope this helps and the best of luck.


  • Joined Aug 2010
  • kent
  • observe react administer enjoy !!
    • photos
Re: Feeding Lambs
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2010, 02:07:33 pm »

Can you explain what creep is please?
Suffolk x romneys and Texel X with Romney Tup, Shetlands and Southdown Tup


  • Joined Aug 2010
  • swindon
Re: Feeding Lambs
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2010, 02:31:24 pm »
where you can feed the animal without the mum or older ewes getting to the feed it is smaller feed and more of what the younguns need at young age look up creep feeders for a picture of the item and then look into the feed for any young animals you will have in the future


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Feeding Lambs
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2010, 02:37:51 pm »
If the sheep were mine I would not breed them this coming season but let them get their condition back for next year.  Feeding lambs at this time of year will be a struggle for the ewes as, even if there is grass, it has a low nutritional content when compared with spring grass.  This will also mean that the lambs will struggle to grow. All reasons not to breed your ewes again in Nov, to feed ewes and lambs concentrates and hay and to leave them together until the ewes have weaned them themselves.  I would feed coarse mix or Carr's Tup and Lamb rather than ewe nuts as this can be eaten by ewes and lambs at the same feeder.
It is worth also checking their worming - having let them lamb at such an odd time of year, it could be that their care has not been the greatest.
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  • Joined Oct 2008
Re: Feeding Lambs
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2010, 02:57:27 pm »
be grateful that your in dorset. you would need to watch them carefully over winter they are not going to have much of a fat reserve by then. a very unusal time to lamb.

Nic Flan

  • Joined Sep 2010
  • West Dorset UK
Re: Feeding Lambs
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2010, 06:53:14 pm »
Greetings and thanks so much for such a speedy and detailed lot of answers.

To be honest we have no idea what sort of sheep we have, Heinz 57 we think, there are light & dark coloured ones, some with goaty sort of horns, others with no horns. Probably best for us as beginners. One of the old ewes only has one tooth !!

As it is very difficult to get a small number of sheep sheared a suggestion was to gradually change them over for Wiltshire Horns ??

Another suggestion was to feed them on sugar beet pellets soaked overnight, certainly for the old ewe with one tooth ??



  • Joined Jun 2008
Re: Feeding Lambs
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2010, 07:14:20 pm »
Looking at your piccie, they look to be in good condition.  There's definitely some Dorset in there  - the pink noses are a giveaway and the lambs look very like mine.  There also appears to be some Jacob in there too, hence the black lamb and the horns on the ewe.

Soaked sugar beet is great for sheep with no/very few teeth.

Help me here...I'm not familiar with this breed, what's the connection between shearing and Wiltshire horns?  Do they shed their own fleeces?  With shearing, you could always do what we used to do  when we only had a few sheep, throw them in with those of a neighbouring farmer and slip him a couple of quid.  Alternatively, I think there is someone who shears small flocks further back in the posts on this site.  I think his name is Pete - search back to about June and you'll find him!!

Nic Flan

  • Joined Sep 2010
  • West Dorset UK
Re: Feeding Lambs
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2010, 07:36:00 pm »
"I'm told" the Wiltshire Horn was (one of ?) the originating breed of "easy care" sheep family. That said I have seen some sheep out in the Caribbean that didn't need shearing.

I'll take guidance from you that there may be some Dorset in them, others have suggested the same, but they don't seem to have that woolly looking face.

Not complaining, out of the 5 ewes that lambed we had 3 sets of twins and 2 singles.

Without reading through all the terms and conditions etc. do members or are they allowed to offer stock for sale on this site ? I was thinking about trying to buy some Wiltshire's if there was a member near by ?




  • Joined Jun 2008
Re: Feeding Lambs
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2010, 08:27:54 pm »
Look in the 'Marketplace' section above - you might find something you like in there.


  • Joined Oct 2008
Re: Feeding Lambs
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2010, 08:38:24 pm »
if these are your first sheep i would see how you do over winter with the ones you have. don't rush into things.


  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Feeding Lambs
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2010, 08:51:47 pm »
We saw sheep on Barbados, called Black Bellied sheep, they are known for having almost a litter of lambs, as many as 5 or more we were  told,  ..they have no fleece as such but have a coat more hair like, so no shearing :)


  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: Feeding Lambs
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2010, 07:55:34 am »
Not sure if The Singing Shearer gets down your way much, but if there a a few of you in your area with small flocks he'll come & shear them for you. Or you can go on a course run by the Wool Board for about 70 and DIY!


  • Guest
Re: Feeding Lambs
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2010, 09:27:27 pm »
We went to the Wiltshire Horn show and auction at Stoneleigh today because we wanted to see what they were like in the flesh.

To be honest we were put off pretty quickly.  Whilst the coat is easycare the rest of the sheep is not - they are really feisty and the antics in the show ring were quite entertaining.  When 120kg of magnificently curly horned ram is disagreeing with 90kg of handler, stand back and watch.

I guess you need to be young and fit to take these guys on.  We're wanting laid-back and nice to handle....  Does anyone have anything bad to say about Dartmoors?  If you're going to be shearing anyway you might as well get good wool and a nice temperament.


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