How long does it take to wean!??

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by quailkeeper, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    465
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    I decided to wean all my lambs at the same time. When the youngest one was old enough I penned all my lambs together with my ram. I left them for 8 days. I let the youngest one out as a test. The ewe ran from her and wouldn't let her suck. So I let the rest of the lambs out the next day. Now all three of them are sucking on their mothers. I let them out a week ago and have seen no signs of sucking until yesterday. So I penned them all back in the barn and to hear them you would swear they weren't weaned. Now I have to go thru the pitiful bawling again :no: How long do they need to be seperated? Thanks!!
     
  2. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

    Messages:
    8,280
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Location:
    Now in Virginia
    My Average weaning time was 2 to 3 months, depending on the ewe and lambs.
     

  3. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    465
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    I was under the impression that a ewe would dry up in just a few days. I can't keep my lambs locked up in the barn during the hottest part of the year.
     
  4. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Location:
    Washington State
    Is it possible to find someone else to house your lambs for a couple months? I've got three lambs heading out tomorrow to a local park (gotta be creative sometimes!) I also find it eases the weaning if you do a half day away from mamma for a week before the real deal. Ewes will begin to slow milk production and babies will begin to bond together instead of crying for their mamma.
     
  5. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,781
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Location:
    New Zealand
    I wean my lambs in late December when the youngest would be about 3 months of age. It's a "cold turkey" wean and the lambs go to the furthest end of the farm from where I plan to have their mothers and that's where they stay until such time as they are ready for other things. Weaned lambs that have been on their own can still recognise their mothers 2 months after weaning and will commence suckling again. They probably have a very dry run but it can muck up the grazing and management regime if you've gone for separating as part of your grass management.

    Quailkeepr, your quite right, you can't keep them locked up like that and you have two options. You can either do what I do if your farm is set up for that or you can leave the lambs run with their mothers until such time as you are ready to on-sell them - and there is no reason at all as to why you shouldn't do that and I have done it in the past. Right now I have a pet ewe that still has her twins running with her. They were late born and are now 6 months of age but ceased drinking from her quite some time ago.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  6. Lana

    Lana Active Member

    Messages:
    28
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    We leave the lambs off for 3 weeks and that works for us.they still go mother up but dont suck and if they try the ewe stomps them off.Most books say 3-4 weeks.If you have small flock you can let nature take its course and the moms will wean them on their own around 4-5 months.Lana
     
  7. livestockmom

    livestockmom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    252
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    for us... at least 2 months or they will resume nursing and it is very hard on mom to continually be bothered by lambs she has to fend off. In my opinion, keeping them on mom until she manages to wean them will take an awful toll on her body nursing those big 'ol kids or having to keep them off, especially if you need to get her in tip top condition for being exposed to a ram again anytime soon.
     
  8. Lana

    Lana Active Member

    Messages:
    28
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    I guess maybe this all depends on breed.many folks i know who raise meat lambs and sell them as natural etc do a natural wean and their ewes seem fine.My lambs,Cheviots, are big and healthy and dont go back and suck after 3 weeks off,and we wean them at 3 months.Lana
     
  9. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    465
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Ok, the two Shetland twins were not sucking. My husband thought he saw them but they weren't. The reason that I need to wean them is that the Shetland ewe is 8 years old (she was actually given to us). I am trying to baby her as much as possible so they can't stay with her. The other is a barbado lamb and she is really taking the ewe down. She is definitely still sucking. The ewe should be pregnant now so I can't leave her lamb either. I'll try two-three weeks. I have a small pasture that I can let them out in every couple of days. Thanks for all the info!! I had no idea it took that long.
     
  10. stellie

    stellie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    48
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2004
    Location:
    Virginia
    Just so you know, if left on their own a lamb will suck for more than three months (our's are still nursing and they were born late december/early january) if the ewe's temperment and milk hold out for that long. If you've a market for any male lambs (wethers and rams), now's a good time to sell. Summer's here and once they've been weaned they'll lose that beautiful milk fat and, unless kept in a cool area, they'll not gain weight again until fall.

    Seller's market in southern virginia (light lambs 30-50 pounds, $1.00-1.60, mid-weight 60-90, $0.90-$1.20) -- check your market reports for your area before making a final decision.