The work is done... now we await the results in 2013
Breeding is now finished with the Lyons flock and all that remains now is to see the scanning results after Christmas. A number of farmers are reporting that litter size is back on last year for early lambing flocks.
Our ewes were in slightly poorer condition at mating this year, so we are eagerly awaiting the scanning results.
The mature rams are grazing on the hill ground at the moment, while the ram lambs are indoors on ad lib silage and 0.5kg of meals per day. The ram lambs still have some developing to do and need to be fed accordingly.
The ewes were turned out on to the forage rape on December 3, while the ewe lambs continue to graze 30ac of the hill ground at Lyons. This will be closed on December 21, with a view to grazing on April 1.
The first of the grassland for the sheep was closed in mid-November, and we are targeting a turnout date for this ground of mid-March. There has been some moderate re-growth on these paddocks since closing but it is very important that they are not re-grazed at this stage.
These paddocks can either be grazed in late December or in early March, but in most parts of the country it is not possible to do both. I would prefer to have the grass in March to support ewe milk production and hence lamb growth.
The suckling lamb in the first 5-7 weeks of life is the most efficient converter of feed to gain on the sheep farm, so we must try to take advantage of this by maximising milk production of the ewe from grass.
We still have 25 lambs, indoors on ad-lib meals. These lambs are consuming 1.5kg of meals per day and converting this feed to a live weight gain at about 6.5:1 on a drymatter (DM) basis.