The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: bloomer on May 25, 2015, 07:37:45 am

Title: lamb guidance
Post by: bloomer on May 25, 2015, 07:37:45 am
Hi

I'm already planning ahead first year lambing so want to be sure, what age do I have to separate boys from girls (sisters and mums) to be safe.
I worry so want to put about it done by date in my diary.
These are Shetlands.
Title: Re: lamb guidance
Post by: Rosemary on May 25, 2015, 09:05:53 am
Did you not castrate your tup lambs?
Title: Re: lamb guidance
Post by: Fleecewife on May 25, 2015, 11:54:05 am
To be totally sure, we take entire tup lambs out at 4 months.  A week or so over isn't a problem, but never more than 5 months, and even that is risky.  The dams have just about weaned them by that age so it's no wrench.  We take out wethers then too, for convenience, but not from necessity.  Hebs and Shetlands.  We have never had unwanted lambs by doing things that way.
Title: Re: lamb guidance
Post by: bloomer on May 25, 2015, 12:14:29 pm
Thanks fleecewife that works great 4 months it is, thank you...
Title: Re: lamb guidance
Post by: Anke on May 25, 2015, 12:44:09 pm
Are you hoping to sell all your intact boys as breeding stock ?... Best hogget is 18 months old Shetland wether, plus you get a good fleece to spin and a skin to tan - 3 crops in-one, but not from entire boys...

I take the entire boys (2 this year as only 1 ball had dropped by 14 days) out at just 4 months into separate field with tup and wether companion(s). I leave the girls and wethers to self-wean. I don't flush the ewes before next tupping.
Title: Re: lamb guidance
Post by: Rosemary on May 25, 2015, 02:37:44 pm
We wean at 16 weeks, so pretty much the same as Fleecewife.
Title: Re: lamb guidance
Post by: Fleecewife on May 25, 2015, 03:08:08 pm
Are you hoping to sell all your intact boys as breeding stock ?... Best hogget is 18 months old Shetland wether, plus you get a good fleece to spin and a skin to tan - 3 crops in-one, but not from entire boys...


Hi Anke  :chook:  :wave:  I don't agree with that.  Most of our Heb males are kept intact so we have plenty of time to assess them as breeding stock (can't decide within 7 days of birth for castration.  Only a very few proceed to make the grade).  Their meat at 16 months is in no way tainted, tough, or unpleasant - in fact it's tender, lean and so tasty.  Their first shear fleece is as good as Heb can be.  We've not sent off skins from shearlings, ie with some regrowth, although we could do that.  Entire Hebs though have fair horn growth - not enough for sticks, but a useful extra. Shetlands perhaps a little less, and not such a good colour, but worth using for something, and their first fleece is lovely.
Do you mean because Shetlands can be a bit whiffier than Hebs?
Title: Re: lamb guidance
Post by: Porterlauren on May 25, 2015, 04:05:13 pm
Weaned at 12 and 16 weeks (depending on age of ewes) and separated then into male and female mobs. All males left intact, and all sheep left with tails. One less job to do at lambing.
Title: Re: lamb guidance
Post by: Anke on May 25, 2015, 04:22:45 pm
Are you hoping to sell all your intact boys as breeding stock ?... Best hogget is 18 months old Shetland wether, plus you get a good fleece to spin and a skin to tan - 3 crops in-one, but not from entire boys...


Hi Anke  :chook:  :wave:  I don't agree with that.  Most of our Heb males are kept intact so we have plenty of time to assess them as breeding stock (can't decide within 7 days of birth for castration.  Only a very few proceed to make the grade).  Their meat at 16 months is in no way tainted, tough, or unpleasant - in fact it's tender, lean and so tasty.  Their first shear fleece is as good as Heb can be.  We've not sent off skins from shearlings, ie with some regrowth, although we could do that.  Entire Hebs though have fair horn growth - not enough for sticks, but a useful extra. Shetlands perhaps a little less, and not such a good colour, but worth using for something, and their first fleece is lovely.
Do you mean because Shetlands can be a bit whiffier than Hebs?

No I mean as someone in their first ever year of breeding sheep has not really got a cat-in-hell's chance of selling males as breeding stock, and especially not in the Shetland fraternity... and the best product (and easiest to obtain is to not have a load of males fighting and jumping fences into the female field...) but to rear them until you think they have enough meat on them (or in our case need to go to make sure the skins are ok to tan) and take them to slaughter (and if you then find you cannot send them away no harm done and you can keep them).

I am just generally against breeders (of any kind of livestock) keeping more than the best/most chance of selling/pre-booked males intact, and you need a good few years to be a good enough judge to decide who's good and who's not.

Maybe ok to leave the large breeds intact as they will mature enough to go before they become a nuisance, but not Shetlands!
Title: Re: lamb guidance
Post by: Porterlauren on May 25, 2015, 04:35:15 pm
Intact males have faster growth rates. With proper management they are no more hassle than wethers. Although I guess it might be different with shetlands/ hebs etc.
Title: Re: lamb guidance
Post by: landroverroy on May 25, 2015, 06:58:04 pm
Intact males have faster growth rates. With proper management they are no more hassle than wethers. Although I guess it might be different with shetlands/ hebs etc.
Agreed. I keep all mine intact and sell the majority straight off their mothers in Aug/Sept. Any not good enough then get separated till after tupping, then all kept together over winter. Just before lambing I put the tup lambs out on grass (which has just started growing again) and I then market them as they fatten on the grass. Just put my last tup hoggs in at Selby last week and got 81 for the pen.
 
Title: Re: lamb guidance
Post by: Fleecewife on May 25, 2015, 07:00:39 pm
We have never sold a Shetland breeding tup yet, and never would even try, so I agree with that.  I doubt it was Bloomer's reason for leaving them intact.
We have never found intact male Hebs or Shetlands to be difficult to manage.  The only wee devils I wouldn't trust out of my sight is Soay, who are 'very keen to work'.  Yes, if you haven't enough paddocks to keep entire males at least a couple of hedges or fences away from the females, there's all sorts of shenanigans they'll get up to, even without jumping a fence.  But with good management they're fine, and as Porterlauren says, entire tups finish better than wethers.