4H lamb - how to raise it?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by hayzor, Sep 29, 2005.

  1. hayzor

    hayzor Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2003
    My DD has her first 4-H lamb and is following the 4-H leaders instructions on how to raise it.
    It includes the following:
    1- being kept in a small 10' X 15' area so it can't free graze in the 1/2 acre pasture.
    2- eating only the "complete" lamb show feed @ $13 per 50# bag.
    3- having only a very small handful of hay each day.
    They say it can't be in the pasture because it will develop a "hay belly". Our fair is not until April. If it is on pasture until a month or 2 before that, won't we be able to get rid of the "hay belly".
    I hate seeing her in the small area when she seems much happier in the pasture w/ some of the other animals.
    I don't want to go against the grain too much, but this system seems a little unnatural.
    Any of your experiences would be appreciated.
  2. ihedrick

    ihedrick Can't stop thinkin'

    May 15, 2005
    Ya gotta love 4-H. I was in it as a kid and my kids are doing different groups. I tried one year with the livestock group and probably will not do it again as there was too much control trying to be had and not enough advice being given when needed...our hog last year did not make weight even though we kept asking about it being smaller that others we had seen.
    I would look into wether those were guidelines to amke life easier or they really wanted you to stick to that and do nothing else. Smaller pens make it easier to catch and work with animals, but if you are ok with the larger area and the lamb isn't eating so much as to get a hay belly; I don't see why you can't raise the animal the way you want...

  3. seymojo536

    seymojo536 Well-Known Member

    Sep 14, 2004
    Could I ask a couple questions? First off, why did your daughter join 4H? Was it to show a grand champion and get the big bucks at the auction? If so, then by all means follow the adviser's directions to the letter. Also you should be ready to spend several hundred dollars for the feed additives that are sure to help you win. Don't forget to line up an expert in the art of fitting a grand champion lamb for the ring. No sense waiting until the last minute. Oh and by the way, you probably didn't pay enough for the lamb you have for it to have even a decent chance to win, better hit the auction circuit and pick up a couple more just in case this one doesn't grow fast enough.

    If on the other hand, she just wanted an animal to show or maybe she joined because her friends were in the group or some other reason, then relax. Fill the rack with hay, open the gate and let the thing run around. Besides they're gonna tell you that you need to walk it a couple miles every day on a halter or even better get a treadmill.

    You're right, the "system" is unnatural, but if you want to compete you gotta follow the herd.

    And that's the reason my daughter shows in the breeding classes after one year with a market lamb.
  4. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    Washington State
    A grass fed lamb is a healthier lamb. Of course, they don't bring top dollar in the auction barn.

    If your dd wants to do a private treaty sale with her lamb, she can still make a profit by letting it out to graze. Plenty of people will want to purchase it if it's grass fed. I'm pretty sure she can still show it in the market show and opt out of the auction, too. Of course, there will be people who will roll their eyes at you for doing it differently, but then, you gotta decide if you want to stand apart from the crowd or be a sheep... :eek: