Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Producing the "Ideal" Market Lamb

One of the challenges to the sheep industry in the United States is to produce a uniform size of market lamb. Many processors are looking for a 45 to 65 pound carcass in order to supply uniform cuts to their buyers. So, as a sheep producer you can ask yourself the question "Are my ewes producing a uniform group of lambs that finish out at 90 to 130 lbs live weight?" And, a second to go along with the first would be "Am I producing a size of lamb that best optimizes profitability in my management situation?"

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Weaning Lambs

A variety of methods can be used to wean lambs from their mothers. Most producers will wean between 60 and 90 days of age. Ewes whose lambs are weaned at 60 days will need special care to prevent mastitis, an inflammation of the udder. These ewes should be taken off grain a few days prior to weaning and should be switched to a lower quality hay. Once the lambs are taken away, you may also want to restrict water access for 24 hours. For ewes who lambs are weaned at close to 90 days of age, they should also be taken off grain and switched to the lower quality hay. Because their milk production has dropped significantly since the lambs were 60 days of age, restricting access to water is likely not necessary.