The optimum age to wean lambs at is 100 days or 14 weeks of age. Leaving the lambs suckling the ewes for longer than this will have a negative effect on both parties as the ewes will be competing with the lambs for grass. In addition ewes need a break from lambs to allow them to recuperate and regain body weight in anticipation of the next breeding season. The table below give an approximate guide to weaning dates.
|Lambing commences||Mean lambing||14 weeks/weaning|
|March 1||March 10||June 17|
|March 15||March 25||July 2|
|March 30||April 10||July 17|
|April 15||April 25||July 22|
The target weaning weight for lambs sired by terminal sire breeds is 34kg. It is a good idea to weigh a proportion of your lambs to see how they compare. If lambs are significantly below this target, the possible reasons for this should be investigated. Potential reasons are: poor grassland management; poor ewe condition at or post lambing; disease or parasites; or, poor genetics in ewe or ram flocks. Consider putting a plan in place to rectify any issues for next year.