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Author Topic: Just how much trouble ARE cade lambs?  (Read 9713 times)

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Just how much trouble ARE cade lambs?
« on: February 28, 2013, 10:04:55 pm »
From the 'price' thread:

They are just too much trouble.
Yep, for me too. I wont keep them around, but neither will I be trying to get 45 for mine... ;D

So just how much trouble are they?

Our neighbour has told us that the lowest hassle way for us to raise some sheep for the freezer this year is to get a few "pet" lambs, raise them, then send them off when the grass runs out at the end of autumn.

However, having read around a little, the whole thing seems far from simple, and anything but easy (4-hourly feeds, high risk of mortality, etc etc).

So can anybody shed any light?  Am I making too much of this, or am I right to be cautious before taking on yet another 'project'?  ;D
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

funkyfish

  • Joined Nov 2011
  • Devon
Re: Just how much trouble ARE cade lambs?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2013, 11:07:11 pm »
I've had some easy ones and some that were hard work, costly and not worth the trouble and heart ache. it depends on the lambs- breed, how long have they been on mum (if they have been on her at all!) how much colostrum they had- and the quality of it. Was mum vaccinated? How has the farmer kept them before you had them?


Last year, my first two were fab. Were on mum for first week, then 4 hourly feeds for next tow weeks then 6-8 hourly, depending on my work shifts. They ate hay and creep by week 2 and grew really well.


The next 3 were 4-5 days old. Very nice lambs and well grown, but one never fed well- took ages to take enough on board. They took ages to eat creep and seemed to drink a lot slower. They scoured a bit on and off, so needed meds. One had navel ill so needed meds. Then at 6 weeks old they all died, suddenly. They scoured heavily, then 30 mins later fitted and died. one after the other. So spent a fortune on fuel (land is 25 miles away) getting up through the night to feed them for weeks for nothing. Also got VERY attached to them (the 1st two whethers are now pets..).


It was my plan to do this every year, but now getting a couple of nice ewes to have babies from instead (thanks CW!). Just want a few lambs for us and the family for the freezer, but breeding our selves now seems easier.


So up to you- if you can have them close to home, and get good healthy lambs you might do well, lots of people do. But its a bit of the luck of the draw.
 
Old and rare breed Ducks, chickens, geese, sheep, guinea pigs, 3 dogs, 3 cats, husband and chicks brooding in the tv cabinate!

Oly

  • Joined Feb 2013
  • South Cheshire
Re: Just how much trouble ARE cade lambs?
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2013, 11:27:38 pm »
Very interesting to read. Many thanks for raising the question and such a good account from funky's experience too

colliewoman

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Pilton
  • Caution! May spontaneously talk rabbits!
Re: Just how much trouble ARE cade lambs?
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2013, 11:30:59 pm »
but now getting a couple of nice ewes to have babies from instead (thanks CW!).
;) :sheep: :sheep:


I think if you have the spare resources such as being knee deep in goats milk and tonnes of grass it's worth a go. If you have to buy in milk then for me I don't think it worth the hassle. Others say it is the most wonderful way of really getting to know sheep. Just make sure you get good lambs who have had plenty of colostrum or it will be heartbreak all the way.
We'll turn the dust to soil,
Turn the rust of hate back into passion.
It's not water into wine
But it's here, and it's happening.
Massive,
but passive.


Bring the peace back

sabrina

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Just how much trouble ARE cade lambs?
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2013, 11:52:33 pm »
I must be lucky for rearing cade lambs has been pretty good for us. Last year I just did 2 for our own freezer but in the past have done up to 5. I use a milk pail which has 5 teats on it. They feed add lib and I keep them on milk for at least a month also introducing the pellets. Sounds expensive, with the price of lamb in the shops it works out quite a bit cheaper for us anyway.

moony

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Dent
Re: Just how much trouble ARE cade lambs?
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2013, 12:16:12 am »
We raised 15 last year. Dispatched one that became very ill. The other 14 made it off the bottle absolutely fine but 2 then developed orf that infected the whole flock, 2 scoured and died and 2 were eaten by dogs. I enjoy raising them but with the price people want this year its just not cost effective. When they were free a few years back they were worth the time and risk, now at 20 plus each to buy then around 25 to rear they simply arent.
A more cost effective way with a lot less hassle in my opinion to fill your freezer would be to buy 2 broken mouthed ewes with singles and dispatch the lot in Autumn time.

ZaktheLad

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Thornbury, Nr Bristol
Re: Just how much trouble ARE cade lambs?
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2013, 08:35:13 am »
Raising cade lambs is definitely not the least hassle way of filling your freezer!   As others have said, the lambs have a high mortality rate and do seem prone to pick up any disease going, even if you try and cover all the eventualities you can think of.  Orf is a big problem, as is bloat.  So many cade lambs seem to just drop dead or get to near weaning and do the same - really is bizarre.  Lack of colostrum is maybe the biggest cause of most deaths - not enough in the early stages of life then leads to not enough antibodies available to fit infections, but whatever it is, it can be distressing and heartbreaking to see your friendly little lamb seemly OK one day and dead the next.  The cost of powered milk is huge plus lamb creep feed etc - the costs are high and the input with feeds 4 x a day in the beginning become tedious and extremely time consuming.   I am with those that say the lambs are more hassle than they are worth.  The other thought is that it can be extremely difficult to let them go at the end of the day - you can become very attached to that little lamb who follows you around like a puppy and is so excited to see you every time you come in to view  ::) :innocent:.    I would definitely consider the ewe with lambs idea or if you fancy a risk, then buy an older ewe in lamb as they are very reasonable at the current time, but you have to think of the risks associated with Schmallenberg etc. 

Remy

  • Joined Dec 2011
Re: Just how much trouble ARE cade lambs?
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2013, 09:49:12 am »
My first six sheep were orphans and I had to bottle feed the lot.  They all got eye infections, two got orf and one nearly died of fly strike which threw me in at the deep end pretty much immediately - from not knowing anything about sheep, I had to administer all kinds of potions!  But they all eventually grew into happy healthy sheep.  I sadly lost one after lambing but the others are still here and my 'foundation' flock, the ewes still bearing twins and triplets.


I've since reared a couple of rejected home bred lambs who never had a problem (one is now living with luckylady - think that's her username!  ;D ), and the other was the most lovely little ewe lamb who grew up to be a real character but I sadly lost her last week  :'( .  They were both very tame and the whether who went off to luckylady didn't even have any of his mum's colostrum, he had to be tubed.


I bought in two cades last spring but one didn't thrive very well and the other is very flighty, despite being bottle fed.


Usually if you get them early enough they become extremely tame and easier to handle when they are adults, but the cost of powdered milk if you have more than a few can be prohibitive.  Personally I've never found it to be a huge problem, although they do have to have the milk at regular intervals till they're able to get most of their nutrients from the grass. 
1 horse, 2 ponies, 4 dogs, 2 Kune Kunes, a variety of sheep

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Just how much trouble ARE cade lambs?
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2013, 10:31:22 am »
Definitely not the easiest way to get lamb in your freezer as I have found out over the past 2 years! Last year I raised 6- 1 had an eye problem, 1 wouldn't drink for about a week, 1 got pneumonia. All 6 lived though. They are hard work at the beginning, 4 hourly feeds and they will soon start to drink you out of house and home. They are escape artists when let out in the field, ours ended up here there and everywhere on the farm. Ours were all killed beginning of Oct (got them in March) and I have to say the meat was fantastic... enough to make us have another go this year.

This year we've got 12 (so far...  ;)  ). The first 3 we got were spot on although 1 was very thin. A few days later we got 4 more- all good apart from a little black one who for some reason just isn't thriving as well as the others- but he's still doing well, and a ewe lamb that refused to drink after being put on 2 different ewes. Then it went a bit wrong when we bought 5 more in a couple of weeks ago, all from the same farm, but this small batch of lambs 3 went down with orf- big problem! They are hard work- OH's sister and mum have lost 1 this year, they lost 2 last year. Touch wood my orf lambs are getting better and doing well, and the first 7 that we got are nearly ready to wean. We will heptavac and worm them in due course which is again more expense. Our young orf lambs are on a shepherdess, which reduces the amount of times I have to go down to the shed, and they can have milk ad lib day and night which is important when they are young. They'll come off it when they are 5 weeks old and go onto 2 bottles a day then be weaned at 6-7 weeks (a week or so later than I would normally wean but they were set back slightly with the orf).

Once they are weaned it's normally plain sailing, we creep them for the first couple of months out in the field then leave them to it as they are on good grass. Obviously bring in to worm etc.

I enjoy raising them though, it's a challenge and keeps me busy during the late winter/early spring months when I don't have much work (self employed event photographer). They are useful to graze the fields as unlike the horses and cows they graze evenly. Plus we get a freezer full of fantastic meat that we wouldn't normally be able to afford due to it being so expensive.
 
Edited to say: agree with below... we thought if you're rearing 5, you might as well rear a few more if you have the grass and money to buy milk powder!
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 10:40:48 am by twizzel »

Ina

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Aberdeenshire
Re: Just how much trouble ARE cade lambs?
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2013, 10:33:42 am »
I think it might actually be easier if you have large numbers to rear. When I worked on the farm, I had dozens of them every year - I think it was 40 one year. They were on the shepherdess, for smaller numbers buckets with teats, and had plenty of colostrum (powdered when there wasn't enough fresh). Can't remember ever loosing one, but did have problems with orf at times (especially when the shepherd dumped an infected one amongst all my healthy ones!). Some of the very weak ones required mollycoddling in the first few days (I remember having one under my duvet one night to keep it warm and feed every two hours  ::) ), but after that it was topping up the bucket daily, and that was more or less it. I'm sure it wasn't financially viable, if you counted work hours and other inputs... But fortunately nobody was prepared to just let them die.

sabrina

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Just how much trouble ARE cade lambs?
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2013, 12:02:26 pm »
Cade lambs 10 each if bought straight from farm. Keeping everything  clean to me is the answer. Never lost one and I have done this for years.

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Just how much trouble ARE cade lambs?
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2013, 04:21:36 pm »
For me, they are too much hassle to deal with at lambing time when I have a gazillion other things to do and they don't make money once you have paid for powdered milk and creep and so on, and if I was to cost in my time then I'd be on to even more of a loser and thats just not an efficient way to run a business.


It would be boring if we were all the same though and I'd have nobody to sell my cades to either.... :)

OhLaLa

  • Joined Sep 2010
Re: Just how much trouble ARE cade lambs?
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2013, 04:45:20 pm »
I had 4 to look after last year. I stuck firmly to the designated timings for the feeds and believe me, constantly setting the alarm and getting up in the cold dark wee hours, heating up bottles and wandering out into the night with a torch isn't much fun.
They got through a lot of milk, which cost a pretty penny BUT all fared well, no ailments.

Ina

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Aberdeenshire
Re: Just how much trouble ARE cade lambs?
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2013, 04:50:30 pm »
I had 4 to look after last year. I stuck firmly to the designated timings for the feeds and believe me, constantly setting the alarm and getting up in the cold dark wee hours, heating up bottles and wandering out into the night with a torch isn't much fun.

I just wonder why that would be considered necessary - ok, unless it's a particularly weak lamb (in which case it's often questionable whether you should even try to "rescue" them, as it's true that nature often knows best), or for the first 24 hours. On farms where they do take the trouble of rearing orphan lambs that couldn't be fostered on, they don't do it. They get milk at most three times a day, twice after the first week or so, if they are bottle fed; otherwise fresh milk in the bucket twice per day.

sabrina

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Just how much trouble ARE cade lambs?
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2013, 07:23:33 pm »
Not round here. Farmers wife feeds the cade lambs which are often one of three. Brought on right, ready for market in July they go for 60/ 70. Thinking of doing a few to sell myself next year.

 
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