Today was a busy day. I started working an outside job the beginning of January. Today, was a day off with good weather and time to wean the lambs. I try to be as stress-free in handling my sheep. Weaning time is hard, as their is stress on the ewe and lamb due to the separation. The lambs have been eating grass, hay and grain from the creep feeder for a month. They are old enough to wean and eating well.
When I wean or separate the lambs from the ewes, I have an area between the pens, so the ewes and lambs are not next to each other, but separated by fencing. The best for weaning is to separate the lambs and ewes a distance they can not hear each other. Unfortunately I am unable to separate that distance due to not having a place for the ewes, out of earshot.
The one thing I do not like about weaning is the noise. Ewes baaing for lambs, lambs returning the call. Although it only last two maybe three days for those ewes or lambs persistent in not giving up, it is stressful for the ears. Each ewe and lamb set responds differently to weaning.
First time ewes, think you have stolen their heart. They will stand at the fence, as close as they can get to their lambs and baa constantly. I should not complain as I have selected ewes to be good mothers and want their babies. The older ewes who have lambed three or more times only baa for a short time. Sometimes I think they are glad to be rid of the lambs and the chore of nursing. A three to four month old lamb can pick the ewe up and push her backwards when they are nursing as the hit the udder wanting the milk to flow. I have often felt compassion for the ewes when the lambs are close to weaning.
The lambs will quiet down in a few days time. Then it will be concentrating on eating and growing. I will watch their growth weight to determine used to determine which classification I put on the lamb when the time comes to sell or retain. I will watch their conformation develop as they grow. Most of the ram lambs will become market lambs to be sold. A few ram lambs will be sold as breeding stock. The ewe lambs will be retained for additional breeding stock on my farm. A few might be sold as breeding stock. Any ewe lamb that have a major flaw will be sold for a market lamb.
The ewes will have two months off from before I freshen them and put a ram in with them to produce another lamb crop. And the cycle begins again.