Reducing stress at weaning time

Lambs can be weaned from around 10 weeks of age (but more normally 12 to 16 weeks) depending on grass availability and ewe body condition. From 8 weeks the lamb is not fully dependent on ewe's milk and can begin to eat grass.

Reducing stress at weaning time

Getting lambs ready for weaning in advance can increase their growth rate. Remember weaning can be stressful for both ewes and lambs and anything you can do to make the transition easier will reduce the usual growth check.

Plan ahead and protect your lambs

All lambs should be protected against disease, ideally having had a full course of vaccine before weaning. This will help to protect from cold nights and changes in their diet and environment.

If trace element deficiencies (dietary elements needed for proper growth, development and physiology) are present in the flock then make sure that lambs are supplemented before weaning. Cobalt deficiencies are common so giving lambs extra cobalt can be beneficial.

Be considerate!

Always remove the ewes when weaning and leave the lambs where they are, in a familiar field with water. Ewes and lambs should be kept out of earshot as calling between them can increase stress.

Dry ewes off quickly

Ewes should be housed on straw and water for 48 hours to dry up their milk supply and reduce the risk of mastitis. Alternatively you can put them on bare fields and check them regularly.