Thursday, March 28, 2013

Nitty-Gritty of Creep Feeding

Creep feeding provides additional feed and nutrition to lambs. This is typically done for market lambs to boost their weaning weight. Creep introduces lambs (before weaning) to the type of feed they will consume in a drylot (if they are to be drylotted).

A typical creep feeding setup consists of a small pen with a Premier Creep Gate on one side. The gate allows the lambs to enter the feeding area while keeping the ewes out. Since we have many lambs, our creep feeding area is large. We're using several of our 6'-8' panels connected to Premier's Build Your Own feeders and a creep gate.

An indoor creep area should be clean, dry and well lit. The light will attract the lambs and the clean/dry area will encourage them to stay there. If in a barn that is not well lit, hang a heat lamp above the creep pen. The bulb does not have to be a heat bulb, just something to provide a light source.

Outdoor creep areas should offer some protection from the elements while keeping the creep clean and dry. Since it is an area that many lambs will congregate, it should either be easy to move or easy to clean. 

The creep area should be in a location that is accessed by the ewe flock daily. The pen should be located close to the flock’s water source or feed source. It is not recommended to keep a water source in the pen as this can create wet/sloppy areas in the pen.

Since lambs are quickly growing, the creep should have a high protein content to build lean muscle. Consult a sheep nutritionist to develop the best system for your flock. 

A well designed and operated creep will help get lambs on feed soon and to market at an earlier age.

For more information on creep feeding visit:
Premier's Sheep Guide 
Maryland's Sheep and Goat website

Friday, March 22, 2013

Shearing 2013

It's that time of year again. Our later bred east farm ewes received their annual haircut shear yesterday. A few shearers kindly came up form Missouri to help us out.

Mike preparing to grab the fleece from shearer Ivan (he's the star of our shearing video). Don and Joe stood in the stalls and handed a fresh ewe to the shearers as soon as they finished the ewe they were currently shearing. 

The fleeces were inserted into a hydraulic power baler. Adrian (one of Premier's shepherds) ran the baler and helped pickup fleeces. He also caught the occasional loose sheep.

These scoundrels (Joe and Don) were busy handing fully wooled sheep to the shearers. This photo was shot while the shearers were changing out their combs/cutters