Housing the priority as countdown to lambing starts
As we come to the end of 2016, grass supplies are almost all grazed off and housing is the next move for our flock. Most of the mature ewes will be housed at the end of this week and put on a diet of silage until the end of the month when they will be scanned.
Any of the repeat ewes, raddle-marked by the rams, will be picked off and left outside on fodder-beet-tops until the end of January. The dry weather in October and November has led to good utilization of grass and also helped get fields eaten out well.
Ewes are in good condition after the dry weather so it is very important to house them now when grass supply is scarce as they will loose weight quickly. We are only 12 weeks from lambing so we need to hold them in this good condition.
All rams have been removed from the mature ewes since December 4 and were removed from the ewe-lambs last Saturday.
We have one small field with some grass on it and the rams are in there now getting some meal and silage. They need a bit of extra attention after mating, we also get their feet checked, give a dose for fluke, and a shot of Heptivac P should see them right for winter.
Any rams that do not improve and put on condition will be culled after a few months. Most important is to allow enough feeding space so that the ram-lambs have enough room to feed and are not bullied by the older boys.
Lamb sales have gone well with about 85pc sold. After the shock of poor kill-out, with too many R2 grade lambs on the first load after weaning, we introduced a small amount of meal to lambs when they were over 40kg and this seemed to do the job.
Kill-out improved, grades improved and kill weight also increased. We just fed a high energy meal with barley, citrus pulp and corn gluten mixed in a small amount of molasses.