Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: when to sell lambs  (Read 9306 times)

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: when to sell lambs
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2015, 03:42:23 pm »
Feeling grateful. It hasn't been the best summer here but it hasn't been drought or flood; we've had a good mix of rain and dry but not an awful lot of sun or heat. What I remember most is the wind. It's been breezy almost every day. Strange summer.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: when to sell lambs
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2015, 03:52:24 pm »
Ouch!  This year really isn't being kind, is it?  Crap weather, and prices down  :raining:.

Can I ask a related question?  How do I know when my lambs are finished and ready to go? 

On one hand, they're not costing me anything at the moment, so I could just leave them keep eating grass until autumn and then send them (provided they don't get over-fat, which they aren't at the moment).

On the other hand, they currently weigh 35 to 40kg, so must be nearly ready now, by normal standards? 

I'll be selling direct as half-lamb boxes, so there's no cut-off weight to worry about. However, apart from making sure they're not getting fat, what else do I need to bear in mind?

Thanks!
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: when to sell lambs
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2015, 04:28:21 pm »
35-40 kgs is fine for killing, I sometimes kill mine out at 32. What breed are they?
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.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: when to sell lambs
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2015, 06:45:14 pm »
They're Zwartbles.



And they're about this big.



fsheep - sorry to hijak your post, but I think this will be of interest to others in the same situation, and perhaps even yourself?
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: when to sell lambs
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2015, 07:13:39 pm »
Hi there,
due to a lack of pasture i would like to sell my lambs as soon as possible, these were born in the first week of June, and I have someone willing to buy them as store lambs, when can they be sold? Thanks for any advice
    Since you have a buyer in place , any time after 10 wks old is ok .                                                          WOMBLE there is no straight answer , the lamb with the spot on its foot looks fit but the lamb in the front of the 2nd picture I can see its spine and hips   ,  from zw  ive seen and handled probably  nearer 50kg

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: when to sell lambs
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2015, 09:23:57 pm »
.

Can I ask a related question?  How do I know when my lambs are finished and ready to go? 

On one hand, they're not costing me anything at the moment, so I could just leave them keep eating grass until autumn and then send them (provided they don't get over-fat, which they aren't at the moment).





Thanks!
If you are producing fat lambs (and I don't mean overfat) you really should know when they are ready for slaughter!
I agree that of your 2 lambs in the picture the one on the left looks ready and the one on the right definitely is not.
However, this isn't something you should be guessing at. The standard way to tell is by feeling the tail. The spaces between the spinal bones of the tail should be virtually filled in with fat so that when you feel the tail, you can  just detect the individual bones. If they still feel knobby with a distinct space between each bone then the animal isn't ready. If you catch the 2 animals in the photo and feel their tails you will see what I mean.
You also handle the back of an animal for further confirmation that it's ready for slaughter, but you really need an experienced person to show you how. 
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: when to sell lambs
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2015, 11:27:28 pm »
Womble, I agree you have one lamb that's scrawny there, and another that looks a better lamb.

First stop, read the Eblex literature.  The one you want is 'Understanding lambs and carcases for better returns' on this page

and if you can, go to a show where Eblex have a stand - they have dummy carcases you can practise on, and usually live and dead lambs too, and can help you get the hang of scoring your own live lambs.

For selling lambs in boxes you don't need to be as rigorous as you would if you were supplying supermarkets, but you still want to be not as fat as 4, and unless you have a tasty slow-grown primitive, ideally not less shape than R.  (Which is not to say you can't get Shetlands that are R3L - people can and do.)

Don't just use condition scoring when testing readiness for slaughter, it's a tool we use all year round on all livestock.  Thin pregnant ewes need more feed; fat mammas need slimming down before the tup; thin lambs mean worms or fluke or other problem, and/or mums not coping, etc.
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

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: when to sell lambs
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2015, 11:32:25 pm »
Apologies to fsheep, we've gone off on a tangent.  Personally I would agree with those recommending you sell some family groups if you can, although it's a bit late in the year for selling ewes with young lambs at foot. 

What type of ewes and lambs are they?
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

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: when to sell lambs
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2015, 08:47:27 am »
what about the shoulders? Guys at the market deem a lamb to be ready by feeling the shoulders
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.

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: when to sell lambs
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2015, 09:22:42 am »
I feel the shoulder last of all as the last point of reference. Usually if you're still uncertain after feeling the tail dock  and back, then the animal isn't quite ready. But the shoulder should feel fairly rounded, not sharply pointed like the ridge of a house.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

Keepers

  • Joined Jul 2015
Re: when to sell lambs
« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2015, 09:28:40 am »
If you want to sell the lambs ASAP due to loss of grazing etc

Then you really can sell them anytime, right now there are plenty of stores already going through the market, and although the fat lamb price is low the store lamb prices arent that far behind

So if you have someone willing to buy them as stores then do it, as long as they are over 8 weeks old, if they are still on the ewe just put her on some srub for a few days to dry her up after they are gone

zwartbles

  • Joined Sep 2011
Re: when to sell lambs
« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2015, 09:42:24 am »
Hi, Womble. Still off original subject. We find Zwartbles put on bone before meat and so although they may have a good weight they probably are not ready. Ram lambs particularly need feeding to get meat on. Ewe lambs for us tend to go in October but taste even better taken through to March or April. They are bigger then than your average butcher would want but for our customers we just get legs and shoulder joints halved and you only need 2 chops for dinner not four !  :yum:

 

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