Winter finishing

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Celtic Herritag, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. Celtic Herritag

    Celtic Herritag Celtic Heritage Farms

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    Jul 13, 2005
    Location:
    CA, Usa
    My lambs were born late may almost june, last ewe lambed on may 30th. I was fuguring on sending them to market in December or January. This raises the question on how to manage them during the winter months. I've only raised lambs during the summer season and slaughtered in the fall. What type of housing will they need, and what sort of extra feed will I need to put them on. I have a barn and a small run in shelter that my ewes use. Can I leave them out with the ewes till January? Can I leave them there till November/December and then bring them in and grain them out? How old are your sheep when you slaughter.
     
  2. jimahall

    jimahall jimahall

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    Sep 18, 2005
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I saw that you are in california, right? If so then go to Wal-Mart and get annual rye grass. About $13 for 25#. Or from your feed store. Overseed ytour pasture with the annual rye grass and allow the lambs to graze this till market size.
     

  3. Celtic Herritag

    Celtic Herritag Celtic Heritage Farms

    Messages:
    346
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Location:
    CA, Usa
    Yep in sunny ol' Californie. Actually it’s been freezing here lately, the weather does this cruel trick where it gets really cold during mid-late September and makes the blood thicken again. Then it turns around in October and brings back the hot weather, so everyone is miserable when the fair rolls around. So rye grass will keep them in the flesh. I was thinking about graining them during the last month or so to get them tender and fleshy I was also told to keep them on alfalfa, just so they have plenty of protein. They ought to have some great pelts on them if I can manage to keep their wool clean.
     
  4. Philip

    Philip Philip

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    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    New Zealand
    If it doesn't snow heavily (which I presume it doesn't in California ?), then they can be out in the paddocks all year round - even better if you have some shelter belts. If you run short of grass can you buy any hay or baleage (sileage wrapped in large plastic bales, usually one bale equals 30-35 conventional hay bales. I'm talking NZ farming practice but I would assume US techniques aren't dissimilar ?)
    I usually feed out half a hay bale per day as well as free-grazing per 20 sheep over the winter months - more if they look like they are hungry, less if not. They will soon baa for more if they want it, if its left, reduce the amount.
    If you are going to run sheep regularly over winter are you able to close up a paddock in Spring and get a contractor in to cut and bale for you, either as baleage or hay ?
    I normally keep most ewe lambs, leave all ram lambs intact, sell them as breeders a couple of months before the next breeding season starts (so they'll be 5-6 months old) and slaughter any that don't go - or send them to the salesyard