BIG lambs?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Sarah J, Mar 1, 2004.

  1. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    How fast do lambs grow?? I have two that were born in Mid-January and mother-fed. They started eating her grain when they were only a week or so old, and now eat right alongside her in their own feeders. I'm *certain* that they are still nursing, but they seem so HUGE to me, compared to when they were born. How big *should* they be now?? These are Suffolk crosses...I don't have a weight, but would *guess* that they are close to 40 or 50 pounds already! They are half the height of their mother. :eek:

    So is this normal? This is my first set of lambs and I'm amazed at how well they're doing! Maybe I shoulld jsut cut it out and thank my lucky stars??? :haha:

    -Sarah
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Sounds like a good weight to be at, 30 days should be 30 pounds (Average sheep) if they have some creep feed, so yours must be doing very well. With grain you should be able to finish lambs to 110-130 pounds in 90-120 days. Its slower on grass but leaner, and no doubt cheaper.
     

  3. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    I have one wether that I'll be butchering - I had no idea they were done that young...I was thinking 7 or 8 months. Is the rate of return lower when you wait? Or do they get bigger proportionately? Just trying to time my butchering schedule (doing it myself). Wondering whether to do it at four months or wait until he's even bigger or... I'll move them to pasture about April 1st or thereabouts, but they'll still get some grain...just not as much!

    The little (okay BIG) lady we'll keep and breed - at what age can they be bred? Or is it dependent on weight, like in goats?

    Sarah
    (having a lovely time with my sheep and lambs!)
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    To finish lambs that fast you need to feed an 18-21% protein grain ration and I suspect they'll be a little fatty. Grass fed will take longer, (depends on the grass but 7-8 months sounds right) Lambs grow the fastest in the first three or four months, you can get an advantage feeding grain or not. Breeding stock should not be forced to grow that fast, the extra fat will interfere with future breeding. I wouldn't worry about your lambs they'll be on grass soon enough and should butcher out leaner on the grass. Both ways produce nice lamb, just the grass fed will not have the fat finish.
     
  5. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    The grain ration is 16%, with alfalfa hay...the hay is pretty stemmy and they love it. I think the problem might end up being keeping the breeding ewes in good condition while fattening up the wether! :haha: Probably cut back on most of the grain once I pasture them and just feed him up the last month or so? Hmmm...separating him from the other two for a feeding of grain may be a challenge! Glad these guys do not have horns - I can imagine the shoving.

    Thanks for the info!

    Sarah
     
  6. quiet mountain farmer

    quiet mountain farmer Well-Known Member

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    I've got a feeder hanging on the outside of the fence, that the ewes can't get their heads through, but the lambs can. :haha: (Poor ewes!)