Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Sheep sorting and an interesting discovery..

Now that all the snow has gone in the paddocks and we can now finally get all the gates open we decided to sort out the sheep.
After we had moved a couple of hay racks around to ensure they were in the right fields. Abbi was put back in with the ewes, (who are now grazing on the common land) and Brazil back with the gimmers. We then moved Finn, he's had his raddle taken off and put back in the top paddock where the boys live. Next the gimmers came into the barn, Archie, Cecil and Fluffy shed off and moved into the top paddock with Finn, who'd claimed the shelter much to Cecil's annoyance. A little head butting and sniffing of each other seems to have sorted the pecking order out between the boys.
The smaller gimmers, (mainly the pure shetlands) along with Frea, Brazil and Amy were also shed off and put back into the field they had just come from. The remaining gimmers were put through the weigh scales to see who weighed over 25kgs for the light lamb market on Monday. We ended up with 7 nice looking lambs which topped the scales at 28kgs.
It was only when I went to record these weights that I discovered that all the gimmers that we'd weighed had all put on weight (between 2 - 4 kgs)! Now considering the weather we've had over the past month this was a nice surprise.
This got us both thinking as back in December, before the bad weather arrived, we had a group of weather lambs in the barn for 3 weeks, feeding hay and concentrate, to put weight on them for the store lamb sale. They put on nothing. So why have the gimmers? The only thing we have fed differently to the gimmers are sugar beat shards (soaked for 24hours before feeding) with a small amount of concentrate mixed in. Some people may think it's strange that we regularly weigh our sheep, but without these records and information I would not have discovered this difference in weight gains.
We've also been giving the shards to the ewes as well and they are looking really well and more importantly they feel in good condition. I had heard that sugar beat was good for giving the sheep energy without the fat that sheep concentrate can but had not given it much thought. We only started giving the sheep the shards because at the feed merchants in December, there was very little sheep concentrate left and they suggested we give the shards a go. So from now on all our sheep will be given sugar beat shards mixed in with their winter feed.

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