Wean More Lambs

Making More from Sheep - AWI, MLA

Type: Webpage
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

The first step to weaning more lambs is to ensure most ewes get pregnant in as short a joining period as possible. This report looks at ewe and ram management to make sure this happens

 

This report from Making More from Sheep looks at the key decisions, critical actions and benchmarks needed to wean more lambs.

The key sections are:

  • Timing of lambing  –  Sometimes the most favourable lambing time will be outside the best phases of matching pasture growth and production.  Other influences include the market choice and planned growth rates of lambs to meet market specification
  • Timing of joining – Setting the time of joining for lambing is the most important on-farm management decision you make
  • Managing ewe nutrition is the most important factor to ensure best reproductive performance
  •  Managing ewes at joining – join maiden ewes and adults separately as they have different ram requirements
  • Managing rams for joining – Ram management is important to a successful mating
  • Length of joining – Join rams with ewes for two 17 day cycles or five weeks
  • Joining maiden ewes – Bodyweight is the critical factor with maiden ewes
  • What if ewes fail to get in lamb? Both ewe and ram problems can contribute to poor results

 

The key findings are:

  • Successful joining management starts from the previous weaning period, both for ewes and rams. The first step to weaning more lambs is to ensure most ewes get pregnant in as short a joining period as possible. Both ewe and ram management must be considered
  • The single most important determinant of reproductive rate is nutrition. Ewes in higher condition score conceive more lambs
  • The condition score at joining is a more important indicator of reproductive rate than a change in condition score through the joining period (unless extreme loss occurs). Adopt grazing management strategies to keep ewes in as high a condition score as possible, rather than feeding ewes to increase reproductive rates
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