Breeding season gets off to a perfect start on Mayo sheep farm
Published 13/11/2016 | 15:00
The past number of weeks have seen ideal conditions for both ewes and rams. It has also allowed me to continue to feed the remaining lambs at grass while giving them additional concentrates.
The lightest 30 of the remaining lambs have been housed this week and will remain there till finish. They are on a three-way mix of barley, flaked maize and soya hulls.
This ration comes in at €270/t delivered loose. These lambs will be worked up slowly to ad lib feeding over the next few weeks. They were getting feeding outside at grass, therefore the transition to the ad lib finishing diet should run much smoother.
The lambs will also receive a source of roughage in the form of hay. I am providing this to slow down the rate of passage of feed through the rumen. I check the water bowls every day to ensure that water is fresh and clean.
There is risk of sickness such as ruminal acidosis if lambs are finished on high levels of meal. My experience is that it's best if the feed is gradually introduced to lambs outdoors first and then increased slowly over a couple of weeks - this allows the rumen to adapt. There are feed additives available which can help with this.
If I was feeding a large number of lambs I would definitely consider using these. I find providing roughage to these lambs important too.
The amount eaten will decline as the meal feeding increases.
I should have all these lambs away by Christmas. I am hoping that that the price of lamb will start to improve towards the end of November after its recent tumble.