The Best Time to Lamb/Kid

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Farms and ranches have their own best times to lamb or kid. A number of factors should be considered when making this important decision, including the pros and cons of different lambing/kidding seasons.

The Best Time to Lamb/Kid

Lambing and kidding are common during the winter. In general, lambs and kids born during the winter months are ready for the premium Easter markets. When it's cold, lambs/kids do better, as the worms (in most places) are less active in the winter. There are fewer problems associated with periparturient egg rise. Winter is also usually a time when labor is more readily available.

Some climates, however, are very cold. Infrastructure costs increase as enclosed housing becomes necessary. It does, however, provide protection from predators to fragile newborns. Due to a lack of winter grazing and the need to meet peak nutritional requirements, feed costs are higher.

Lambing/kidding in the spring is more natural. Grass is plentiful and the weather is usually mild. There are fewer feed costs. It is common for twins and triplets to be born. It is possible for ewes/does to drop their babies on pasture if they lamb/kid late enough in the spring. There is usually less labor and less equipment needed for lambing and kidding in the spring. Diseases are less likely to spread because they are more likely to be outside. Close quarters make it easier for diseases to spread.

The Best Time to Lamb/Kid

Spring lambing and kidding, however, are not without their challenges. Spring birthing poses a greater challenge due to internal parasites (worms). Sometimes, it is impossible to overcome this obstacle. There is also more of a risk from predators in the spring since predator mothers have young to feed. It can be difficult to overcome them, too. Although livestock guardians are helpful, they are not always sufficient.

A lamb or a kid may have the best chance of survival in the fall. There is usually pleasant weather. There is a decrease in worm activity. It is the second growing season for cool season forages. The risk of predators is usually low.

The Best Time to Lamb/Kid

It would be nice if the sheep/goats cooperated. Sheep and goats tend to breed less readily in the spring because of their seasonal breeding habits. The number of babies they have tends to be smaller, even if they breed. Hormone treatments are an added cost of out-of-season births if the ewes/does do not conceive naturally.

Lambing/kidding at an accelerated pace is becoming more popular for commercial production. Lambing or kidding occurs less than 12 months apart, which is referred to as accelerated birthing. The average ewe/doe is capable of producing two crops a year, but lambing/kidding occurs every eight months most of the time. January, May, and September are typical birthing months. Lambs can be produced every other month by overlapping two groups of ewes.

Everyone has their own best time to lamb or kid. What's yours?
 
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