Now I haven't mentioned what's happened to the lambs from the ewes last year in a while.
Unfortunately they hadn't put on enough weight by the autumn and I had two options. Either fatten them up over winter or sell them as "store lambs" which means someone else fattens them up and makes a profit on them.
The price was at a low when I was thinking about selling them as stores so we decided to hold on to them for a little while longer to see what the market did.
|Covered in Briar's|
The market is a little better than it was (in fact last week was even quite good) but when I got the lambs in yesterday I could instantly see they hadn't put enough meat on. One or two could have gone for fat (meat sale) but the rest didn't have enough when I felt their backs.
It's been wet for a few months and it's pretty hard for them living out in it the whole time, not much extra energy for growing meat. We've been giving them some extra corn (wheat and oats) but I think it's now time to up their rations and hope the weather improves to allow some easy living. Hopefully in a months time I should see some improvement and have plenty to sell.
|Looking a little better but they still need to grow some more meat on their bones|
One of the reasons I think they didn't put on much meat last year was a lack of minerals, something must have been lacking from the grass. They seemed to get to a stage and then not move on from there. With this years lambs I'm going to creep feed them (give extra feed) early on and try to have them sold by the end of the autumn. I don't want to have to winter lambs again if I can help it.
A steep learning curve with these animals, I think the 8 years I spent away from sheep I forgot more than I realised. Having focus in other areas hasn't helped this first year and I think I should have been more organised and I got rid of some lambs in the summer when they would have graded but the price was low.
I'm also planning on killing two lambs myself for home and butchering them here, but we'll see if I find the time for that (best laid plans and all...).
The ewes are looking good though, great condition, just need to find somewhere to lamb them in April. Currently thinking a quickly erected poly tunnel for a month might be the answer!