John Large: Suffolk, Texel and Belclare top weights
We have had a big increase in grass growth over the last few dry weeks, allowing us to cease all meal feeding for the ewes. Only one group of lambs is being creep-fed. These are made up of ewes rearing triplets, thin twin ewes and a few ewes that got mastitis since lambing. These lambs are eating about 0.4kg per head.
We put the creep feeder outside the gate to the next paddock as this gets the lambs to creep graze ahead of the ewes. We use a creep gate that can be moved easily from each paddock. All the rest of the twin lambs and their mothers are on grass only with the dry hoggets used to clean off after them. Grass quality is still very good so we are grazing down to 4cm.
All the lambs were dosed a week ago for nematodirus with a white drench. Up to this a few lambs in each group were scouring, but all have dried up since and I'm hoping that this will prevent the coccidiosis problem that we had last year.
All the lambs were weighed at 40 days by the Sheep Ireland crew. The average age was 42 days and our average daily gain was 290g.
There was a huge variation from a single of 31kg to a small triplet of just 9kg. A very interesting piece of information was the difference in weight across breed. The Suffolk, Texel and Belclare lambs are at the top with an average weight of 21.5kg.
The Charollais, Blue Leicester and Vendeen are in the middle weighing 18kg, with the Lleyn and Rouge way behind at just 12kg.
I know that we should take into account that there may be a difference in age and maybe some difference in litter size but the lighter lambs have a lot of ground to make up on the heavy ones.
It should be interesting to see what the next weighing shows up as all the lambs will be weighed again at 120 days.