Weaning stresses can take a toll on lamb performance
Published 20/07/2016 | 02:30
THE difficult spring informed a lot of my decisions this year.
I weaned the lambs a little earlier this year as with the poor weather earlier in the year the ewes overall body condition score (BCS) was below par for this time of year.
Many of the ewes are in good shape, but overall I thought weaning them a little earlier and giving them a bit more time to recover would benefit in the long run.
According to the research, it takes six to eight weeks for ewes to gain one BCS on quality grass alone.
If the grass is stemmy it will take longer. Lambs were thriving well and it was a tough decision to make so I hope the lambs don't get too much of a setback.
For weaning, ewes were put to a bare pasture to help them dry up. The cull ewes will be taken aside and with a large supply of grass on the farm they will be left to graze some of the stronger swards and will then be sold.
All lambs have been weaned apart from the later born lambs and lambs born to last year's ewe lambs. These will be weaned over the next fortnight to give them extra time to recover.
They will be grazed on good quality grass to help them catch up on last year's ewe lambs that were run dry. Growth wise there is not much of a difference between the dry hoggets and those that reared lambs, body condition is the main difference.