Lamb advice

SageHill

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Load the animal(s) up and take them to the sale barn early on the morning of the auction. Unload where they tell you and fill out the sale paperwork with address and phone number. If you don't want to watch the auction, go home. The check will be mailed to you. The sale barn takes a commission of about 10% plus a small charge for "yardage". If you can't go the morning of the sale, they will often take the animals a day or so in advance.
Depending on the sale barn and where you are, you can take animal(s) the day before, you'll just have to pay a small fee for that (a few dollars). That's what we do - traffic to and from the sale barn can be bad here, and we wouldn't want to miss getting there in time.
Some sale barns will provide a scrapies tag if you don't have one. Ours does.
 

blessedfarmgirl

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Thanks everyone for all the input! I think the auction sounds like the way to go in this case, though I'll probably continue to sell direct for non-cull stock since it's difficult for us to transport animals. We don't have a livestock trailer (I wish we did), so we have to rig up a cage to secure to our regular trailer out of pallets and cattle panel when we need to transport a pig or sheep. I do need to talk to my dad first to get the go ahead and I'll call to see if they provide scrapies tags. I'd heard of those before, never knew what they were until now.

Just curious, do you generally get more or less at an auction than you would selling direct? Katahdins are going for around 250 a head here on CL, I'm not sure how much I'd get at an auction. Does it vary drastically?
 

Baymule

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Yes, it can vary. From your description, she doesn’t sound like you could sell her for $250, nor would you want to sell her in what we call face to face. A cull like that goes to auction. You take what you get. You sell good sheep direct, you want a good name. You are doing this the right way.
 

farmerjan

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It depends but it is like @Baymule says. This is a cull ewe... her value is slaughter value. You do not want to sell her to someone that is trying to get started into sheep.
Sheep and goats are worth more in the few weeks before Easter and different ethnic holidays. There is alot of kill animals then. I think your best timing will be early to mid-March... call the stockyard/auction barn and tell them you have a few sheep you are thinking of culling, might be a few lambs also....when would be their best sale to bring them to... You can check on the scrapie tags also. Don't have to go into any big explanations... and this does not obligate you to sell anything...This is part of life and farming... you cull the less desirable ones. Where they go after that is not your problem... most older animals/bigger animals will go for slaughter... baby lambs have the cuteness factor and will get bought for someone to raise up, or if they are over 40-50 lbs will often go for slaughter also that time of year.
 

farmerjan

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We sell alot of our cattle at auction... but it is a little different since we will take feeder size animals- 4-600 lbs- in; specifically for buyers to buy them and they will go on farms to be grazed and then put on feed to be finished at 1,000-1400 lbs for slaughter for meat. We do this more often at certain times of year when there is a demand for them, and we work the market to sell at the best time of year if at all possible.
That is what you are going to do also. Sell at the time of year that it is optimal if possible.
 

ricardomark

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Considering the ewe's poor genetics and the previous lamb's stunted growth, bottle-feeding might help improve the lamb's nutrition and growth potential.
Pulling one of the twins to bottle-feed is a prudent choice, given the ewe's history of inadequate milk supply and a tiny udder.
While the ram's genetics may contribute to improvement, be cautious about potential genetic limitations in the ewe, and monitor the lamb's growth closely.
I have a ewe who I'm culling this year, not sure when. She's really, really skinny, always has been, and she's super narrow as well, no depth, no width and no meat. She also had trouble producing enough milk for her lamb last year, he came out just as stunted and skinny as she is. She should have been culled already, but she got pregnant again and I figured I might as well let her have one more lamb first. I was wondering if I should try to bottle the lamb(s) to see if I get better growth on them. Do you think that it would be a waste of money and milk since the poor genetics are there, or do you think it might be worthwhile? If she has twins I'm pulling one to bottle for sure since she hardly had enough milk last year for one, and she has a tiny udder. Let me know what y'all think.

My ram is very well built and proportioned, so there might be potential for improvement, I'm just not sure how much of her first lamb's problems were nutrition related or genetics related. I should also add that she lambed in May, it was already getting hot, and that may have negatively impacted her supply and his growth. (I don't think parasites are involved, she has always been one of my most parasite resistant ewes, her lamb is the same)
 
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