Newbie lamb'er

CrealCritter

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So how does a guy go about learning what it's going to take to raise some lambs. I'm totally green, never lambed before. I guess I need a soup to nuts book or something???

First obvious questions

1) How much is a newly weaned lamb?

2) Do they need medications.

3) When do you buy them? Spring I would guess???

4) I assume they need food and water duh... But is grass it or do they need supplements?

So many questions... Where do I turn for answers?
 

baymule

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Lamb Lady to the rescue! And @Beekissed too! Check Craigslist for lambs. I recommend hair Sheep, either Katahdin or Dorper, and probably a wether or ram lamb. You can also look at Facebook groups for both breeds and see if anyone in your area has them.

VERY IMPORTANT!!! Get 2 lambs, same sex. One lamb by itself will be very unhappy, will feel vulnerable to predators even if you keep it in a steel cage, and won’t thrive.

Newly weaned..... wet weaned means just taken off momma. They take a dive, worms bloom, they lose weight. If possible get a lamb that had been weaned, wormed if needed and given a chance to recover. If you get a wet weaned lamb, put on a medical glove, and dig for doo-doo for a fecal sample. Take it to the vet. Or you can follow the lamb with gloves on to catch said doo-doo for a fecal sample. Just don’t pick some off the ground, it’s contaminated unless you just saw it hit the ground and you snatch it up quickly. Put in plastic bag. Vet will tell you worm count, go from there.

If you pasture your lambs, they must have a good fence and protection from predators. You may get by with a good fence and close them up at night in a barn or shed that coyotes can’t get into.

Feed. They should do well on good pasture. At night, provide hay and water. You can give them about a cup of feed, that way they will quickly learn to come running when you shake a Feed can.

I have 5 pastures. Only 2 are attached to the sheep barn. I move them across our yard with a red Folgers can and a little Feed. Right now they are in the horse pasture to eat the weeds(horses in another pasture). When I take them “home” I put Feed out for them, calling SHEEP! SHEEP! SHEEP! They start yelling, I walk to the gate, open it and they RUN to their barn.

Aaaaasnnnndd....... join backyardherds there is a great Sheep forum there.
 

CrealCritter

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My goal is to raise them for table fare. I want to start small no more than 6. One male (ram?) And the rest females. Butcher 3 females and be left with two females and a male to breed for next year's butchering. You know self sufficient kind of thing. I will have two pastures at a minimum. A 6 acre and a 10 acre. Just want to maintain small "herd". maybe those pastures are to big?
 

Beekissed

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My goal is to raise them for table fare. I want to start small no more than 6. One male (ram?) And the rest females. Butcher 3 females and be left with two females and a male to breed for next year's butchering. You know self sufficient kind of thing. I will have two pastures at a minimum. A 6 acre and a 10 acre. Just want to maintain small "herd". maybe those pastures are to big?
Yep, you'll never keep down that much pasture with that small a flock. Better to buy some ram lambs for wethering and butchering this fall, keep one for breeding and get yourself a handful of ewes to start and see what your grass will stand, then keep ewe lambs to build from there. Depending on your area, sometimes ram lambs cost the same as ewe lambs...I picked up a few this season for $125 ea. Just got to watch the livestock pages on FB for your area, as soon folks will be unloading all their weaned lambs.
 

CrealCritter

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Yep, you'll never keep down that much pasture with that small a flock. Better to buy some ram lambs for wethering and butchering this fall, keep one for breeding and get yourself a handful of ewes to start and see what your grass will stand, then keep ewe lambs to build from there. Depending on your area, sometimes ram lambs cost the same as ewe lambs...I picked up a few this season for $125 ea. Just got to watch the livestock pages on FB for your area, as soon folks will be unloading all their weaned lambs.
There are two live stock auctions close to me each weekend. CL or FB really aren't the best places around here to find livestock.

The pasture grass is about waist high right now. I'm hoping someone comes in and mows, rakes and bails it.
 
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Beekissed

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There are two live stock auctions close to me each weekend. CL or FB really aren't the best places around here to find livestock.

The pasture grass is about waist high right now. I'm hoping someone comes in and mows, rakes and bails it.
Trust me, you don't want to buy at the sale auctions unless you know the breeder and if you do, just buy off them directly. The sale auction is usually where folks take their culls and you'll have meat buyers bidding against you, not to mention you have absolutely no history on the animal. If I have something good to offer, I offer it to the general public, if I have something not so good to offer, I take it to the sale barn. You could study up on the breed as much as possible and then look for breeders of such in your state...a Google search may find you some.

I've found my breeders/farmers on FB more than any other place and you get to see pics of their stock, prices when you PM them, etc. What state are you in, CC? I was surprised to find many, many livestock pages for my state on FB, so it seems to be the place for advertising livestock nowadays. Not so much on CL though.
 

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I would recommend that you get just 2 to raise for the freezer to start with. That will allow you to figure things out and go from there.
 

baymule

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I think you should keep both of their contact information. Then when you are ready to buy a ram and ewes, you can contact both of them. I would go off the rail and go for the Royal White. The Katahdins would be cheaper, but I like to try something new to me. Or buy one Royal White and one Katahdin, the same size. See which breed you like the best. In the meantime, you could study both breeds and take your time choosing what breed you want. I still love the Katahdins.
 
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