The NWF Technical team share their latest ‘Lamb Technical Solutions’ fact sheet featuring advice to support sheep farmers this spring.
Ewes and lambs should be assessed at 8 weeks post lambing.
• Body Condition Score (BCS) should be monitored, 90% of ewes should be at the target BCS of 2-3 (depending on situation and breed).
• If ewes are below, lambs should be weaned earlier rather than later to allow time for ewes to regain condition ready for tupping.
• It can take 6-8 weeks on grazing for ewes to regain 1 BCS.
• Up to 8 weeks of age, DLWG should be greater than 250g. A 4kg lamb gaining 250g/day would achieve a live weight of 18kg by 8 weeks, or 21Kg at 300g DLWG.
• If growth rates are lower, consider the reasons why, such as parasites and ewe condition.
• At this age the energy intake is greater from grass than it is from milk. Therefore, it is critical sufficient amounts of high quality grass is available.
Up to weaning
• Competition for grass is high. If lamb growth rates drop under 200g/day, consider weaning and moving lambs onto better quality pasture.
• If being creep fed, weaning decision should be based on length of time to finishing and condition of the ewes.
• Target for high creep systems- sell 60% of lambs before weaning.
• Lambs perform better weaned when they have already experienced different feeds such as clover and cereals with their mothers.
• Keep in mind that it can take 3 weeks for the rumen to adapt to new feed.
Weaning and Creep
• The purpose of creep feeding is to increase the suckling lamb’s nutrient intake. This can help achieve target weights and condition, reduce risks of parasites and can allow an increase in stocking densities.
• When introducing creep, do so carefully to avoid gorging and acidosis.
• Poaching and disease should be considered when locating creep feeders.
• Wean lambs at around 12-16 weeks.
• Weigh regularly to record growth rates and to predict finishing dates, this can also indicate if there are any issues in nutrition and health.
Target for grass-based systems > over 70% of lambs to be sold (finished or stores) by tupping.
DOWNLOAD the Lamb Technical Solutions fact sheet which includes advice on feeding and health.
For a quotation contact your local NWF feed specialist or call us on 0800 756 2787 or email us at email@example.com