Farm Table says:
Livestock consultant, Tiffany Bennett, introduces the benefits to yard weaning in this article.
They key points include:
- Yard weaning helps to reduce impacts of a stressful weaning and therefore the issues that arise such as weight loss, deaths and tender wool.
- Lose less weight and continue to grow, settle quickly, learn to be handled better and respect fences.
- Will do better in a yard weaning situation if they are closer to 12 weeks of age and it is best to wean based on liveweight rather than age
- Aim to wean merinos at about 18kg and crossbreds at about 20kg.
- Yard weaning may also provide an opportunity to wean early in dry years and manage the high nutritional requirements when early weaning lambs. A lamb can be early weaned at about 8 weeks of age or 15 kg
- Requires careful planning and management
- Adequate trough and feeder space. If you have set feeding times ensure that there is 10-15cm/head trough space or 2-3.5 cm/head if you have an adlib self-feeder or lick feeder. Ensure you allow 1.5cm water trough space per lamb
- Essential that the lambs are imprint fed whilst still on the ewes
- Mineral supplements are useful to optimise the lamb’s nutritional requirements and adding salt and limestone to grain based diets essential
- Ensure that all lambs have been drenched and vaccinated.
- Remove ewes to as far away as possible from the yards, and run a dozen or so older wethers with the lambs
- Use the yard weaning process to get the lambs accustomed to humans and dogs, if you use dogs.