Urgent--may be getting lambs tomorrow

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by GeorgiaberryM, Dec 29, 2006.

  1. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

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    I was hoping some one could help me. We can get two bottle lambs, still very small, tomorrow. It will take us 10 hours round trip but we will spend the night and have many friends we rarely see there so the trip isn't just about the lambs.

    The lady wants $30 ea. for them but we will likely trade her for some very good pork we are growing. These people are very well versed in animal husbandry and their animals are organic unless they have to be treated because of illness, which, I understand, is quite rare on their farm. Is $30 a fair price?

    Also, they are just babies. We will have to raise them on artificial sheep milk, which is available here but is quite expensive. We only intend to let the kids play with them and then butcher them. Is it reasonable to incur the expense of the milk replacement if we are just going to eat them? About how much milk replacement am I looking at buying by the time this is done? Can I get good replacement by mail order and save a few bucks? Is this worth it?

    Baby lambs are very cute and I'm sure I'll reap the rewards of happy children and lamb is likely my favorite domestic meat. We are not poor but still I like to keep costs under control. Any advise would be greatly appreciated. I don't have enough time to go to the library for research and I've never raised sheep before, though just about everything else and I used to help on the farm as a teen.

    Thank you
    Husband of Georgiaberry
     
  2. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I would give it a miss. Apart from the expense of travelling, paying for them and milk replacer, the stress of a trip that length could be enough to have them turn turtle on you. Is it not possible to get something a little closer to home?

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     

  3. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I suppose you have to look at all the factors. If you have to buy milk replacer, and are going to eat them, will the cost and work be justified compared to buying lamb from the store? You'll know what went into them if you raise them, but will you actually be able to butcher or have them butchered after raising them? We paid 25 each for bum lambs last year, but kept all the ewe lambs as breeders for one year to see how they do. I have goat's milk available, so didn't have to purchase replacer, making the cost more 'affordable' to me. Lamb isn't an inexpensive meat, so if you can muckle the cost of replacer, probably 75-100.00, as well as hay, some grain, etc, you may be ok. Jan in Co
     
  4. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

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    Getting lambs here is difficult. We live just south of the Ouchitas and have a coastal type climate, sometimes called Texas hill country or The Briar Patch. Most breeds do not do well here because of the heat and humidity. I had intended to givem the axe before it got too hot.

    What goes into our food is very important to us. I buy lamb from the grocery on occasion but keep it to a minimum because of impurities; I think about it like eating too much swordfish, high on the food chain, mercury contamination; a little is fine, a lot is poison. Lamb is not always available here and sometimes the prices can be very high.

    I was hoping that they would have enough time to work the synthetics of the milk replacer out of their system on grass before we ate them. I planted a couple of acres in rye and thought they might finish on that. How long before they get weaned?

    Thank you again,
    Husband o'G
     
  5. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    http://www.khsi.org/

    Check out this site - its the Katahdin Hair sheep association. There are dozens of listings of members in OK, TX and AR. Surely there is someone closer who could provide you with a couple weaned lambs. You could still raise them on the rye, but save the cost of milk replacer, and the likelihood that at least one of the lambs would sicken and die.
    You might find that Katahdins would do great in your area - they are well suited to hot, humid climates.

    Best
    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com
     
  6. flannelberry

    flannelberry Pure mischief

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    I'd agree with Lisa.

    St. Croix are another "tropical" breed. You should be able to find sheep for your area without that much leg work - or that will provide a more lasting environment. If you were getting a breed that would last and you could reproduce etc. you'd make some return for the effort but if they're getting butchered before the heat, likely it'll cost more to get them than it's worth.

    Good luck.
     
  7. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't pay anything for bummer lambs. I especially wouldn't travel 10 hours for them! I have people give them to me every year because they don't want to deal with them. Bottle lambs are a big hassle to raise, and they just don't thrive like ewe raised lambs do. Do you know whether the lambs you're thinking of taking have been bottle raised from birth? If they've been on mama, don't take them. Lambs are about impossible to stick on a bottle after they've nursed. I'd be surprised if they even survived that long of a car ride. Stressed lambs bloat like no tomorrow. About the last thing I'd do is put them on milk replacer too. The ONLY reason I even take the freebies is because I have goats and I raise them on goats milk. I won't take them if they've nursed at all - too time consuming to cajole them into taking a bottle.
     
  8. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

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    We decided not to go. Too much holiday. Too many colds.

    My lovely young wife found a pregnant ewe that is believed to be carrying twins about 40 min from here. The guy just wants her gone. He doesn't have any more sheep. $35. Long story, and a bit humorous. We were set up for goats not too long ago and think we can use the facilities for her. I really just wanted some babes for the children to play with. I figure I'll let the ewe take care of the lambs and butcher her when she's done, then when grown, the others. I've always wanted sheep and this should be a nice introduction. I can't have goats because my trees are too valuable. Mutton tastes better anyway. Maybe in a year or two I'll get a little more serious about it--too much work that makes money right now. It's a Katahdin.

    Thank you for all of the help everyone.
    Husband o'G
     
  9. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Bwaahaaahaaa! Yeah...right. :p

    Okay, I sold my bottle baby last spring for $75. I had her dressed in diapers and a sweater, she was a week old and we were in town. A lady with a tiny little hobby farm saw her, fell in love and wrote me a check on the spot. I'd never pay for a bottle baby myself, but I'm more than happy to take someone else's $$$.

    But aside from the objections everyone else has thrown out there...unless your kids are accustomed to eating their pets, I'm not thinking this is very practical. Okay...I tell DD to go play with her food, and she's cool with it. I mean, she loves the taste of lamb, but it wasn't until we'd had sheep a couple of seasons that she could seperate herself emotionally. There's a difference between telling the kids not to get attached because your little bottle lamb will be Easter dinner, and the reality of having grown attached to that darling little dumpling of wool who calls you mom.

    I'd suggest calling the local extension office and finding out which 4-H clubs or FFA clubs might have lambs available for you.
     
  10. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    I think having the ewe and lambs is a better idea, but don't play with the lambs, you'll end up with "pets", not freezer campers.
     
  11. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

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    We are accustomed to the procedure. They know what happens. They've seen daddy butchering all sorts of cute things, including things they like to play with. When we decided to move to the country then we all understood that there would be certain rules. That animals were for food and dogs were for protection were just a few that the children have grown up with. Still can't get the lovely young wife to practice with the firearms though; I mean, she can use them, but not proficiently. I don't think she needs to learn the chainsaw though.

    The kids are pretty well adapted. They like meat. I don't like to feed them from the grocery if I can help it.

    When or if I get serious about sheep then I'll plug my nose into some books and do some networking to see if I can't contribute a bit to the world of sheep. It's just toys and meat at this point.

    Thank you again, you guys have been great.
    Husband o'G
     
  12. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I grew up with pet farm animals, they tasted great then they still do today. Its a workable plan in many instances and Georgiaberry seems to have that base covered. I like plan B better than plan A thats for sure.
     
  13. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

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    We got the sheep. She looks like she is going to have twins soon; she had dropped. She is a bit smaller than I'd expected. The drive was pleasant. She is very docile and has apparently been handled quite a bit in the past. I think she will fit in well here.

    Just an update
    Husband o'G
     
  14. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Glad the kids are used to it. DD likes to play with her food, too :rolleyes:

    You'll still need to be careful around the trees. My sheep have been nibbling on ours, and a friend had to move their sheep away from the Christmas trees. Have you got fruit trees? Keep the sheep away as it's a favorite (I had a ewe that would climb as high as she could with the front end and strip leaves, fruit and then the bark...)
     
  15. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

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    She got out and split. I did 5 strands of electric. The fence looks nice. She has come back once but went again. Just going to kill her and eat her if I get the chance. I appreciate the heads up on the trees. I'd had the impression that they were good around trees. Sheep are not in my near future.

    Thank you again
    Husband o' G
     
  16. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do I understand you correctly, the pregnant ewe escaped?? Yikes, hope you get her back soon. Jan in CO
     
  17. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

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    She is gone. We put up a few signs. We got a call from a few miles away, heading towards what we call the bottoms, which is bottoms and wide open space with no people. There are so many dogs here that I don't think she has much of a chance. I kill, on average about 5 per year, could be a lot higher if I was tougher at law enforcement. She was chased off by the neighbors' beagle. My lovely young wife won't let me talk to them about it because "they are sensitive people." If it wasn't for the dogs I'd still have my sheep, though, my fence obviously was not good enough. I don't have the time, money, or patience for the type of fence I'd have to build.

    Sincerely
    Husband o'G
     
  18. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    umm, TALK to that neighbor-THEY are responsible for the loss of your future food!! IF they were truly sensitive, they would have seen to it their beagle did not leave the property.
    Next fence-- hot wire it! Put a scare wire on the outside, a few inches above the soil surface, to help keep errant dogs out! <My BARBADOS BLACKBELLY CLIMBS-- his new fence has a tight chickenwire covering that keeps him from getting a foothold and going over it, in the event that the nose level hot wire inside should not be carrying enough power. A hot wire on top keeps outside animals from climbing in. Don't let the one escape you just had deter you-- I like my ram, and soon, hopefully, his ladies will be along...and then, I get to eat my lambs!@!!
     
  19. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

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    My lovely young wife has found her. She is in a safe place but is in with a bunch of wild colts. There won't be anyone home in the evenings there until Saturday. The farmer says she is fine where she is until then. She has gone in a giant circle but is staying put for now. We'll be able to get her back.

    Husband o'G
     
  20. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

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    Just an update. We got her back. We have her fenced with stock panels around her shed. She can't get out. I'm going to try to halter train her so she can go out into more grass while I'm home. I've read the rye is 17.5% protien, and I wish she could have more of it. She has a little where she is but it would be nice for her to have more. I've just bag mowed it for her and other animals and they like it like that but it is labor intensive, though, I guess, not near going to the feed store.

    Husband o'G