Weaning Lambs

  • The exact time of weaning will be different for each flock. Factors to consider when deciding when to wean include
  • Feed availability – if the availability of good quality forage or grazing is restricted, it’s a good idea to wean early to prioritise the lambs. If you have plenty of good grazing you can wean later as ewes and lambs are not competing for feed.
  • Lamb growth rates – if these drop under 200g per day on average it is a good idea to wean and get the lambs onto your best quality grazing. However, have a chat with us as underlying disease issues can also affect growth rates.
  • What to look out for immediately after weaning
  • Mastitis in ewes – keep ewes on extremely restricted grazing for the first 7-10 days post weaning, or until udder size reduces. Examine udders carefully when checking stock – swelling or hardening of one or both sides could indicate mastitis. 
  • Stress related disease in lambs – weaning is a stressful event, and as a result lambs may have reduced immunity during this time. Most frequently, this can be seen as an increase in worm burden. Moving lambs to clean pastures (e.g. hay/silage aftermaths) at weaning can help to mitigate this. As always, drop in a fecal sample to us to get a clearer picture of the lambs’ status.
  • Other considerations
  • Growth check – a small growth check is natural at weaning. It may therefore be worth keeping any lambs that are fit/almost fit on the ewes until they go for slaughter.
  • Minerals – once weaned, lambs are no longer getting minerals through the ewes’ milk so they will need supplementing separately. This is most often a problem with cobalt/B12 – deficiency of which causes poor growth and coat quality. Lambs can be supplemented in a number of ways, including drenches, boluses or injections.