Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ott, A explaination of a lamb creep

Last week I shared pictures and information as to what happens right after baby lambs are born on our farm.  If you missed that post, please go read it first so you are all up to speed and can better understand what happens next as today I'm sharing what happens to the lambs when they are around 5 days old. 

Around the 5 day mark the ewes and lambs are used to each other and the lamb is growing and becoming quite active.  They are moved out of their "bonding pen" inside the barn and relocated to an outside smaller pasture with a shed and a lamb creep.
What's a lamb creep?  This is a pen inside a shed out in a pasture that is created so lambs have a place to access feed and hay that the ewes can't get to.  The pen has slats in the gate that are small enough the lambs can fit though and the ewes cannot.  This gives the ewes and lambs a chance to get away from the each other.  (I tend to think of it as kind of a play pen for lambs.  While you may put your child in a play pen to keep them contained, the lambs run into the play pen to access feed and hay that is just for them.)  They can come and go from the pen as they please.  And the ewes can see the lambs and know where they are.  During this time they are still nursing but they are also starting to eat grain and hay on their own.

The creep is kept bedded down with straw.  This keeps the pen nice and dry for the lambs.  In the corner of this creep you see a hay rack.  Because the lambs are just starting to eat solid foods on their own, we make sure to give them the highest quality of hay we have to entice them as much as possible to start eating it on their own. 
To the right of the hay you see the feeder.  Lambs are fed a high protein pellet with extra vitamins and minerals to give the lambs additional nutrition they need to grow.  Because the feed is high in protein we do not want the ewes to eat this feed, so that is why it is kept in this creep that only the lambs can get to.  These pellets also contain some molasses in them, which again entices the lambs to eat it and adjust to solid foods.  The continuous feeder is always kept full so the lambs eat throughout the day they will never run out. 
As the lambs grow the type of pellots we feed them will change to continue to meet their nutritional needs.  The ewes are still feed grain and hay and plenty of water as well, but they are fed away from this lamb creep.  The lambs could eat the ewes feed but usually don't eat too much as it is not as sweet or as tempting as their pellots.
As spring weather comes and the grass starts to green up, both the ewes and lambs will nibble on the fresh grass.  At around 6 weeks the lambs will be weaned from the ewes and the creep pen will be taken down.  Even though there is still a crispness in the air, don't worry about the lambs being cold.  As long as they have a place to get out of the wind and rain they are fine.... they are wearing wool you know.... 
A lamb creep is one of the ways we ensure our lambs are properly taken care of and are receiving the nutrition they need. Twice a day we are feeding and checking on their health and well being to ensure happy ewes and lambs.
This post was linked to: Verde Farms Farm Friendly Friday.


Ms Bibi said...

My grandma used to have baby lambs and for me seeing the little babies is sign of spring....can't wait.

Leontien said...

Thanks for the great post and GOOD to see you at Verde Farm's Farm Friend Friday!!!


Chai Chai said...

Thank you, very informative and right before we start our lambing here.

Verde Farm said...

Great post! I didn’t know that’s how it was done. Makes complete sense they would have their own little place to fill their bellies. They are all so gorgeous out there grazing together. How fun :) Thanks for sharing with FFF!

Teresa said...

They certainly are looking good. Very nice post!

Bonnie said...

Love this post. We have a second home in the country and good friens who run 3,000 head of sheep. I love to visit the pens in the spring.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Oh lambies.... :-)