Lambs too fat

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by netti424eva, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. netti424eva

    netti424eva Member

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    We recently had two 6 month old lambs slaughted. When we went to collect them the buther told us they were very fatty. Indeed they are. We raised them on fresh cows milk till about 10 weeks, they had calf starter pellets but not a lot during this time. In the last few months of life they only grazed on grass with our cattle. How come they got so fat, does one have to restrict their food intake or slaughter them earlier?
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Higher protein feed would help, cows milk is lower protein. Breed might make a diff, what breed were they?
     

  3. netti424eva

    netti424eva Member

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    Thanks Ross,
    I'm not sure about the breed. A local retired farmer had them for sale. He is now into working dogs and keeps a small flock for his dogs to herd. He didnt know the mother was pregnant and didnt want the lambs as they are too much trouble.
     
  4. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    You know... we slaughtered a grass fed and only grass fed (ok, mother's milk then grass fed) ram lamb a month ago, and he too was much "fatter" than I expected. Thick fat over most of the carcass. I wanted a nice lean meat and now I'm wondering what I did wrong too. Is free choice hay "too much hay?"
     
  5. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Netti and Morrison, you didn't do anything "wrong", if anything you did too much that was "right".

    While sheep should be on good pasture, they don't need the longer, lusher grass that cattle need so Netti, if your lambs were grazing with your cattle all their lives, they would have been pileing on the pounds and most of it would be fat. I can't remember how it goes now but the nutritional levels in grass vary down it's length and what is closer to the ground is better for sheep. Therefore it is usual to graze cattle on a paddock and follow it up with sheep once the cattle are moved on. If either of you rear lambs through again, it might be adviseable to look at making a smaller paddock - or even two - just for them so you can have some control on their diet.

    Morrison, ad lib hay would not be too much I shouldn't think. Hay doesn't have a lot of nutritional value and is a maintainence feed rather than a food in it's own right.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  6. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    BING! Light bulb goes off!

    We don't have cattle, and given that our "pastures" haven't been maintained for half a century we assumed they were "low" in nutritional value. So we kept putting the sheep on fresh ground with about 6" of growth on it. Well, we won't have the option to make that mistake this year, way more sheep... and no more pasture!

    Funny how the pastures don't expand at the same rate as the flock...