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Author Topic: Small holders how to sell lambs ?  (Read 6271 times)


  • Joined Sep 2015
Small holders how to sell lambs ?
« on: June 24, 2017, 11:15:54 pm »
As small holders we've had our first 10 lambs from our 6 ewes, how do most people move on theirs whilst covering costs? Private sales or friends for meat ? We brought our ram from the local market but I can't really our small bunch fetching much, do the run of the mill farmers really bother about well cared for, vaccinated, wormed, cliked etc They are texel x derbyshire gritstone and have made fantastic lambs.


  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Small holders how to sell lambs ?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2017, 07:37:40 am »
In previous years I have sold to friends as meat, this year as I did not want the hassle I took them to the mart and sold the 4 wethers as one batch and the 2 ram lambs as another.  I did not use clik on them knowing that they getting sold but the vaccine would have been wasted if not used on them as I was doing the ewe lambs anyway and the wormer will be past its expiry date if not used this year, so nothing other than a bit of creep had been bought specifically for them.  They have covered their costs and made a bit as well.  I will be doing the same again next year.


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Small holders how to sell lambs ?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2017, 08:15:03 am »
Farmers can tell stores which have been properly looked after from ones which have had nothing at 100 paces.  ;).  So if they need meds on your land and you want to sell them as stores, give them the meds.

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


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  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
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Re: Small holders how to sell lambs ?
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2017, 08:35:38 am »
Not quite sure what your question is.   'run of the mill farmers' as you called them,  would all vaccinate/worm etc as necessary and expect any sheep they bought in to have had same treatment. They will pay the market value on the day (which varies weekly never mind monthly) .  You would learn a lot from talking to those 'run of the mill' farmers and how they assess what they buy.

We rear ours and sell half lambs to an increasing list of people for about 9/Kg (which amounts to about 130 a lamb.)


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Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Small holders how to sell lambs ?
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2017, 09:14:04 am »
Farmers (not quite sure what "run of the mill" means) want to buy sheep that are robust and well cared for.  If you are selling fat lambs you must be careful about withdrawal periods on vetmeds but why would you want to keep sheep at anything less than the optimum way to promote good health?

Daisys Mum

  • Joined May 2009
  • Scottish Borders
Re: Small holders how to sell lambs ?
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2017, 09:29:07 am »
I do a mix of selling butchered lamb privately and selling at market, most profit is made by selling butchered lambs.


  • Joined Sep 2015
Re: Small holders how to sell lambs ?
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2017, 09:29:38 am »
'Run of the mill' was not meant to be derogatory just referring to your general run of fat lambs that go through the market, often crosses of your meat breeds and locally at the markets I've been to farmers seem to get their money by sending quantity. As we will only be taking 8 or 9, my concern was that we wouldn't be able to compete with them and thought ours wouldn't sell well.

My only experience of our 'run of the mill' ewes are the ones we got who hadn't been vaccinated, couldn't give me a date of when they were wormed and we terrified of people (not the case anymore) so maybe I've just had a bad experience.

I've added a picture of one of our 12 week old lambs, never had creep, just milk and grass !


  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Scottish Borders
    • Facebook
Re: Small holders how to sell lambs ?
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2017, 10:08:55 am »
Money is made by sending well cared for animals in tip top condition. The grerater the number you sell, the greater the financial impact of an extra, 2, 5, 20 whatever per sheep, so please don't think commercial farmers a) don't care for their animals b) don't think about the financial impact. For me, it's the difference between my kids being able to go on a trip, have a new pair of trainers, so I'm going to do every thing I can to get that extra money on every one of the 1000 or so lambs I sell each year. Vaccination is obviously an individual choice based on your circumstances, but I would say 85% of people I know do. Not being able to tell you when they've last been wormed isn't acceptable or normal, just a question of opening your medicine book, and would result in a pentaly off your single payment if an inspector found you couldn't answer that, so it's highly irregular. Terrified of people? Interesting one. I have Shetlands for sale currently that will come when you call and eat out of your hand. I will also have aroung 80 lairg north country cheviot drafts for sale once the lambs are weaned who are top notch ewes, and handle fine run through proper pens by an experienced handler, but if you tried to handle them like the shetlands, I expect they would be terrified. They run on the hill with 1100 other ewes, so clearly aren't being handled daily, or even regularly, although they are of course checked twice a day. I think the thing to take away from this is when buying you need to be very specific about what you want, take responsibility for making sure it is the case, and if it isn't, walk away.

farmers wife

  • Joined Jul 2009
  • SE Wales
Re: Small holders how to sell lambs ?
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2017, 11:48:24 am »
if you take fat lambs to market whether they have had all that treatment is really a waste of time as fat lambs are bought up on the day to go to the abattoir.  The lambs are assessed on the scoring system by hands.  If they are not quite there they will go into stores.

I dont know yr overheads however you have added to them by worming (did you need to do that?) vaccinated (I dont bother) fly strike (as a general rule if your shifting lambs before fly strike again is it worth the bother.  Those things have added expensive overheads and lambs taken off the mountain to mart havent had a thing.

Can you weigh them?  If they are over 40kg then you'll get a good price sadly all of a sudden lighter lambs arent so well sort after. They look good.

If you want to sell the meat then you have to make well over 120 per lamb.  It is a lot of hardwork and not sure its a great time to flog lamb and depends on whether yr friends have big freezer owners and are the type of people who like to do this.    Again its numbers dont take less than 3 lambs to slaughter.  You obv want one. Watch out for those who say they want it and on the day say oh I havent got any room in my freezer.

Taking the mart does have the advantage of shifting all in one go.  But as a small holder filling your freezer is essential too.  SO possibly have a go at both.

farmers wife

  • Joined Jul 2009
  • SE Wales
Re: Small holders how to sell lambs ?
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2017, 11:51:32 am »
Good lambs over 40kg are making close to 100 (75 - 90 av) in mart so bear that in mind.  They do look great by the way.


  • Joined Aug 2014
  • East Anglia
Re: Small holders how to sell lambs ?
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2017, 03:39:56 pm »
My lambs are 12 weeks old and I sell them at 80 each to other smallholders.  There seems to be more money in it than keeping them on for meat


  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Small holders how to sell lambs ?
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2017, 05:54:08 pm »
The trick to making sheep pay, is getting the husbandry right;
This means;

DO not worm - Farm to avoid worms, IE paddock rotation, Cull out any sheep that do need worming, to build resistance.

Same for fly treatments.

Do not feed creep or brought in food, just grass.

Choose a breed suited to your ground, not based on looks alone.

Cross to the best Terminal Sire you can afford for your numbers, and sell as soon as they're ready.

Unless your getting 2x the price of market, seeling meat is pointless (i do sell 1/5 of mine direct still), as your loosing out on driving time, butchery costs and selling time which could be better spent elsewhere.


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Small holders how to sell lambs ?
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2017, 08:45:37 pm »
Selling at market and selling meat in a box very different things, different end user, different spec for killing. Market fat lambs must fit a certain weight and type (continental crosses, white faced lambs sell better). Meat box lambs you can take to higher weights providing they don't go over fat. I would disageee with cutting down on inputs- if your lambs need worming then worm them (we are in a high fluke area for example). Pasturella is a huge problem and growing bigger ever year so think of heptavac or ovivac as an insurance policy. If selling breeding stock heptavac is a must. We have flystrike problems so to not treat at least once is probably a welfare issue. Ours get their first treatment early May. If your ground and grass quality is poor you may find creep feeding lambs will get them away sooner but that's something to weigh up.

farmers wife

  • Joined Jul 2009
  • SE Wales
Re: Small holders how to sell lambs ?
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2017, 09:47:03 pm »
What Coximus says is right you need to keep low input for maintaining a profit.

Quality stock can be sold unvaccinated.  Our last purchase came in all unvaccinated stock.  Lots of stock in market is sold unvaccinated.  Worming/fluke only done on FECs.  Flystrike issues can be managed  either with the breed or strict eye.

[size=78%]Agree its all down to good husbandry. But if you want to raise stock with no worries then you dont have to worry about it.  Sadly commercial sheep farmers are lucky to break even.  So if you want to be sensible about finances you need to watch all inputs.[/size]


  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Small holders how to sell lambs ?
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2017, 10:04:35 pm »
it may be worth trying to sell them through, preloved, farmingads, FG, FW , FB and twitter. Do you mind if I share this to FB btw?
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.


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