Weaning lambs and kids


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This presentation is the sixth in a series of webinars on the management of the ewe and doe from late gestation through weaning.

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Weaning lambs and kids

  1. 1. SUSAN SCHOENIAN (Shāy-nē-ŭn) Sheep & Goat SpecialistWestern Maryland Research & Education Centersschoen@umd.edu – www.sheepandgoat.com<br />2011 Ewe and Doe Management Webinar Series<br />Small Ruminant Program<br />
  2. 2. 2011 Ewe and Doe Management Webinar Series<br />Jan 13 I. Late Gestation<br />Jan 20 II. Vaccinations<br />Feb 3 III. Parturition<br />Feb 10 IV. Neonatal Care<br />Feb 17 V. Lactation<br />Feb 24 VI. Weaning<br />
  3. 3. Weaning<br />Removal of milk diet from young mammals<br />http://www.slideshare.net/schoenian/weaning<br />
  4. 4. Weaning age in sheep and goats<br />Varies from 14 days to more than six months (natural). <br />Early < 90 days<br />In a dairy sheep operation, it is common to wean lambs at 30 to 35 days of age. <br />When lambs and kids are artificially reared, it is common to wean them between 6 and 8 weeks of age.<br />Late > 90 days<br />Natural<br />
  5. 5. Weaning<br />There is no best time to wean.<br />There are pros and cons to different weaning ages and systems.<br />Weaning must be appropriate for the circumstances and production system.<br />
  6. 6. There are many factors to consider when deciding when to wean <br />Age<br />Season of birth<br />Parasite problems<br />Predator risks<br />Market<br />Available labor<br />Facilities<br />Forage availability… and quality<br />
  7. 7. Lambs<br />2.5 to 3 times birth weight.<br />20 to 25 lbs. for artificially-reared.<br />40 to 50 lbs. if raised on the dam.<br />2 to 2.5 times birth weight.<br />20 to 25 lbs. for meat and dairy kids.<br />Better to wean by size than age <br />Kids<br />Lamb or kid needs to be consuming enough dry feed to support maintenance and continued growth in the absence of milk in the diet.<br />
  8. 8. PROS<br />Early weaning14-90 days (usually 60-90 days)<br />Eases lactation stress of high producing females.<br />Helps prolific females raise their offspring.<br />Allows females to return to breeding condition sooner.<br />There is less worm burden and predator risk when lambs and kids are weaned early and fed for market or breeding.<br /><ul><li>Feed cost savings: it is cheaper to feed lambs and kids than dams + offspring.</li></li></ul><li>CONS<br />Causes stress to females and their offspring.<br />There is a greater risk of mastitis as females are still producing milk at the time of weaning.<br />More facilities and pastures are needed.<br />Requires a higher degree of management.<br />Early weaning<br />
  9. 9. When is early weaning common?<br />(Semi) intensive production system<br />Early (winter) lambing<br />Shed lambing<br />Prolific females<br />Creep feeding<br />Finish lambs and kids on grain or grain + forage<br />Artificially-reared lambs and kids.<br />Sheep dairy<br />Show animals<br />Pasture is a limiting factor<br />
  10. 10. Weaning artificially-reared lambs and kids<br />6 to 8 weeks is optimal<br />2 to 3 x birth weight<br />Minimum 20 to 25 lbs.<br />Need to be consuming enough dry feed to support maintenance and continued growth.<br />Why not wean later?<br />Cost of milk (replacer)<br />Labor<br />Retard rumen development and consumption of dry feed.<br />Wean abruptly<br />Do not dilute milk or reduce feedings.<br />
  11. 11. Creep feeding<br />Providing supplemental nutrition to nursing lambs and kids.<br />Need to set up creep area where lambs/kids can enter but ewes and does are excluded.<br />Within 7 to 10 days of birth.<br />In a high traffic area.<br />Several openings.<br />Good visibility<br />Clean, dry, and well-bedded<br />Some rules of thumb:2 in. (5 cm) feeder space per lamb/kid<br />2 ft2 (0.19 m2) of creep pen per lamb/kid<br />
  12. 12. Creep feed<br />Small particles<br />Easily digested<br />Fresh<br />Palatable<br />High protein<br />Always available<br />
  13. 13. PROS<br />Late weaning> 90 days<br /><ul><li>More natural</li></ul>Less stressful to dams and offspring.<br />Less risk of females developing mastitis.<br />Takes advantage of available forage to finish lambs and kids.<br />Pasture gains are often more economical than those achieved on grain.<br />Can manage animals in one group.<br />
  14. 14. CONS<br />Late weaning> 90 days<br />Lambs and kids must compete with ewes and does for pasture.<br />Lambs and kids are more likely to become parasitized.<br />Predator risk is higher.<br />It may be necessary to castrate or separate males.<br />
  15. 15. When is late weaning common?<br />(Semi) extensive production system<br />Late (spring) lambing<br />Pasture lambing<br />Less prolific ewes/does<br />No creep feeding<br />Finish lambs and kids on pasture.<br />Abundant pasture<br />
  16. 16. Creep grazing<br />Creep feeding on pasture<br />Creep feeding<br />Image source: Otago Daily Times (NZ)<br /><ul><li> To improve growth rates of lambs and kids.
  17. 17. Get lambs and kids to market earlier.
  18. 18. Economics may vary by farm, species, and year.
  19. 19. Better nutrition (pasture or supplement) will improve parasite resilience.</li></li></ul><li>Minimizing weaning stress<br />Creep feeding reduces the stress of weaning.<br />Wean dams from offspring, not the other way around.<br />Keep lambs and kids in their pre-weaning surroundings and groupings.<br />Do not change the diet of lambs and kids drastically the two weeks before or after weaning.<br />Perform vaccinations and other management tasks at least two weeks before weaning.<br />In cattle, fenceline reduces the stress of weaning (lambs and kids - ?)<br />Anti-suckle device<br />
  20. 20. Management before weaning<br />CD-T Vaccinations<br />Prevention of coccidiosis<br />Reduce milk production in female <br />
  21. 21. VACCINATED DAMS<br />Vaccinate lambs and kids with CD-T toxoid at approximately 6 and 10 weeks of age.<br />Vaccinate lambs and kids with CD-T toxoid at approximately 4 and 8 weeks of age.<br />Administer tetanus antitoxin at the time of docking, castrating, or disbudding.<br />CD-T vaccinationsClostridium perfringins type C & D and tetanus<br />UNVACCINATED DAMS<br />
  22. 22. Coccidiostats*<br />Bovatec® <br />30 g/ton of feed<br />Rumensin®<br />15 g/ton of feed<br />Deccox®<br />Add 2 lbs. of the 6% Deccox to 50 lbs. of loose trace-mineral salt.<br />Put in drinking water for 21 days<br />Mix 1.5 oz of 9.6% oral solution in 100 gallons of drinking water<br />Drench lambs and kids for 21 days<br />Mix 1.5 oz of 9.6% oral solution in 1 pint of water.<br />Administer 1 oz per 100 lbs.<br />Prevention of coccidiosis<br />Amprolium (Corid)<br />Source: http://old.cvm.msu.edu/extension/Rook/ROOKpdf/coccidia.PDF<br />*Rumensin® is extremely toxic to equines. Do not allow equines to consume any coccidiostats.<br />
  23. 23. Drying off females<br />Plan ahead of time<br />Remove grain and protein from ration 1 to 2 weeks prior to weaning.<br />Remove good hay from ration several days prior to weaning.<br />Feed low quality hay or straw for several days after weaning.<br />Restrict water intake shortly before and after weaning(?)<br />Watch ewes for engorged udders and signs of mastitis.<br />
  24. 24. What do you do after weaning with the lambs and kids? Take them to market or keep them for further feeding or grazing<br />There is no right answer!<br />Depends on your market<br />Depends on current and anticipated prices<br />Depends on your availability of feed or forage.<br />Depends upon your cost to put additional gain on lambs or kids.<br />
  25. 25. What about the ewes and does?<br />Sell them if they have a physical problem, are getting too old, or are a poor producer.<br />If they are on the thin side, “fatten” them a bit before selling.<br /><ul><li>Keep the productive ones . . . and their offspring.</li></li></ul><li>Thank you for your attention. Questions?<br />Susan Schoenian<br />sschoen@umd.edu<br />www.sheepandgoat.com<br />Small Ruminant Program<br />
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