Weaning lambs and kids

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Weaning lambs and kids

  1. 1.   Info She t o S eetWean ning la ambs and kidsby Susan SSchoenianSheep and Goat Specia d alistUniversity of Maryland Extension y dsschoen@umd.eduDate of la revision: 8-Nov-11 astWeaning is when the milk is rem e moved from t diet of a young mam the mmal. Usual -- but not lly talways –- it coincides with separ - ration of the young from their dam. e mWeaning age varies greatly in sh g heep and goa from as early as 14 days to nat ats, s tural weanin at ng,more tha four mont of age. L an ths Lambs have been succes ssfully wean as early as 14 days; kids nedas early a 28 days. Early weaning is usually defined as weaning prior to 90 day of age; 60 as y ys 0days is m most common Late wea n. aning is anyt thing after t that.Wean by weight y erally better to wean baIt is gene r ased on weig rather th age. A g ght han general reco ommendation isthat lambs and kids not be wean until the have achieved 2.5 to 3 times the birth wei ned ey o eir ight.Artificial lly-reared la ambs and kid should we ds eigh at least 20 to 25 lbs before be t s. eing weaned If d.lambs are being raise by their dams, they should weig a minimum of 40 to 5 lbs. before ed gh m 50being we eaned. Even mor important than weigh is dry fee consumpt re ht ed tion, as weane lambs and kids need to be consu ed d uming enouggh dry feed to support t their mainte enance and continued growth – in the absence of milk in their die Their fee k et. ed consumpption should be at least 1 percent of their body f y weight at the time o weaning. Creep feeding is an asp of pect of most e early weanin programs ng s. There are many fact e tors to consider when de eciding at wwhat age to wean lambs a and/or kids. These inclu age, sea ude ason of birth, potential paarasite prob blems, preda ator risks,markets, labor, facil lities, and fo orage resourrces. There are pros and cons to dif d fferent weaningages.Early we eaningEarly weaning eases the lactatio stress of high-produc on cing females and other f s females thattmay be hhighly-stress sed, due to t helps prolific females raise their age or physical condition. It h c1|Page Weanin lambs and kids ng d 
  2. 2. their offs spring. Early weaning en y nables fema ales to retur to breedin condition earlier. There rn ng nis usually less worm burden and predator risk associate with lambs and kids that are ear y d ed rlyweaned a fed in dry lot. and dFrom an economic st tandpoint, it is less expensive to fe lambs an kids than to feed dam eed nd msand their offspring. Young animals convert feed very ef r Y fficiently.On the other hand, early weanin causes stress to both females an their offsp e ng h nd pring. There is a egreater rrisk of masti with early weaning, as weaned females may still be pro itis oducingsignifican milk . Ear weaning usually requ nt rly uires more f asture fields, and pens. It facilities, parequires a higher deg gree of man nagement.Early weaning is mos commonly associated with early, winter, and shed lamb st y d d bing. Afterweaning, lambs and kids are usu , ually finished on hay and d d/or grain d weaned lambs diets. Early w Early weanin is probab best suite to prolific breeds andand kids are usually creep fed. E ng bly edbreeds th have hig genetic potential for growth. hat ghEarly weaning is also associated with certain production osystems a scenario In a dairy sheep ente and os. y erprise, it is scommon to wean lam when th are 30 to 35 days of mbs hey o fage. Lam and kids that are art mbs tificially-rea ared areusually w weaned by th time they are 6 to 8 weeks of he yage. Show stock are usually wea w aned early, s that the sooffspring can be pushed for rapi growth. g idLate wea aningIt goes w without sayin that late weaning is m ng more natura It is less s al. stressful to lambs and k kids.The risk of mastitis is much less. Late wean i ning usually allows prodducers to tak advantag of ke geavailable forage to finish their lambs and ki e f ids. Pasture gains are of ften more economical t thanthose achhieved on ha and grain diets.. Ma ay n anagement is simpler, as females an offspring can s s ndbe mainttained in a single group for a longer period of t s r time.On the other hand, late weaned lambs are m l d more likely to become p parasitized o killed by orpredator Summer temperature may limit weight gain Lambs an kids have to compete rs. t es t ns. nd e ewith thei dams for the forage r ir t resource. Deepending up species, breed, and age at weaning, ponit may be necessary to castrate or remove m e male offspring.Late weaaning is most commonly associated with late la y ambing, sprin lambing, and pastur ng relambing. Lambs and kids are ty d ypically finished on pasture diets. Creep feeding is lesscommon, though cre grazing m be a ad eep may dvisable prac ctice. Late wweaning is p probably bes stsuited to less prolific breeds and breeds wit less poten o c d th ntial for gro owth.Stress at weaning tRegardle of weanin age, effo should b made to r ess ng orts be reduce stres at the tim of weanin ss me ng.Creep feeding reduc the stres of early w ces ss weaning. Dam should be weaned fro their ms e omoffspring not the ot g, ther way aro ound. Lambs and kids sh s hould remain in familiar surrounding n r gsand in th heir pre-wea aning groupings.2|Page Weanin lambs and kids ng d 
  3. 3. The diet of lambs an kids should not be dr nd rastically cha anged two wweeks befor or after reweaning. Vaccinatio and othe managem . ons er ment tasks sh hould be performed at least two we eeks weaning. In cattle, fenc line conta has been shown to reduce the stress atprior to w ce act nweaning. .Recently weaned lam and kids are very vu y mbs s ulnerableto coccid diosis. Cocc ciodiostats sh hould beadministered in the feed, miner or water prior to ral, rand after weaning. Early weaned lambs sho r E ould havereceived their first vaccination f CD-T (ov v for vereatingdisease a tetanus) prior to we and ) eaning. The secondvaccine sshould be given four we eeks after th first. heTo preve mastitis in early-wea ent aned ewes a does, andhigh quality feed sho ould be removed from t females diet prior to weaning. By the time the eweaning occurs, femmales should be consumi a low qu ing uality forage diet. Some producers will e erestrict w water intake to help hal milk production in the female. e lt eUnder no circumstan o nces, should recently we eaned ewes and does be turned out to lush e tpasture. Poor produ ucing female should be removed fr es rom the floc after weaning. It may pay ck yto improv their bod condition prior to tak ve dy king them to a sale barn o n.3|Page Weanin lambs and kids ng d 

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