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Hi all,

My husband asked when the lambs from our hair sheep are able to be weaned. I came up blank and I have spent almost 30 min. searching and can't find the answer. Please help me with this stumper. Thanks. P.S. Anyone raise hair sheep and think they are easier than goats? These sheep have been NO trouble. Now that I just jinxed myself :p :eek: Thanks all.
 

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okiemom said:
Hi all,

My husband asked when the lambs from our hair sheep are able to be weaned. I came up blank and I have spent almost 30 min. searching and can't find the answer. Please help me with this stumper. Thanks. P.S. Anyone raise hair sheep and think they are easier than goats? These sheep have been NO trouble. Now that I just jinxed myself :p :eek: Thanks all.

The ones we purchased in Oct. 2003 were weaned at 2 months. I think 2-3 months is average depending on your goals.
 

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Weaning ages can be quite different depending how they are kept. For dairy purposes we can wean at 30 pounds if they are eating solid foods well enough. 30 pounds is often 30 days. 30 day old lambs are on a pound of 18% grain ration and high quality forage, like green chop, silage or excellent hay. Base your weaning dates by how big the lamb is and how well it eats what is offered and how complete that feed is. If they get some grains and good pasture they'll wean fine at 45 pounds hopefully around 2 months. Most of ours (when we are not milking) and replacement ewe lambs just graze with mum for the summer, and get a 16% suppliment.
 

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We wean at 10 weeks (we don't have to worry about the whole milking thing...I admire you for milking sheep...I'm absolutely horrible at it when I try to milk them to freeze colostrum!)
I may wean a little earlier to rebreed some of them for fall lambing this year, maybe. I have a creep feeder for them, so they start nibbling hay and corn/soy meal mix from day one. I'm sure I could wean earlier if I preferred with no ill effects, but I'm in no hurry.
Leah
 

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Milking is best done with a machine, no question it is a terrible job by hand!
 

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I raise hair sheed now ( a mix of Katahdin and Dorper) but have changed my weaning program completely. I used to want to get them to weaning weight as fast as possible thus I weaned them at 60 days and poured the grain to them (free choice with no exposure to pasture). Now I want primarily pasture fed lambs with grain as a supplement so I leave them with their mamas in the pasture until late summer. I bring my sheep to the barn at night and there they have creep access to a 16% pellet but not free choice...about 1.5 pounds each. They do great being exposed to pasture all day over against the old "feed lot" system.

Tim
Knoxville, TN
 

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Haha, yes...I guess it was late and I didn't realize that if someone used sheep as dairy animals they almost certainly used machines! By hand I'm lucky to get enough to make 1 colostrum ice cube! Any idea if a hand-operated breastpump meant for humans would do the trick in a pinch better than hand milking? Someone asked me that the other day and it made me wonder if there IS an easier way to milk occasionally without investing in expensive milking equipment (just when a lamb needs milk and can't nurse).
Leah
 
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