Weighing, Recording & Setting Targets for Lambs...
Importance of 8-week old weight...
A lambs performance is influenced by the ewe's colostrum and milk production. Meeting a ewe's energy and protein requirements pre-lambing and in lactation is key for the lamb to have the best start to life and for the ewe to produce as much milk as possible, especially at 3-4 weeks post lambing when peak lactation occurs.
A ewe rearing twins will have a greater nutritional demand than a ewe rearing a single because the twin mother produces 40% more milk.
A lambs rumen will develop as grass and solid feeds, such as creep feed are introduced. By 8 weeks of age the rumen should be fully developed. The time to fully development may be dependent on lamb breed and nutrition so in some scenarios can take longer.
The ewes lactation ability is indicated by the lamb's 8 week weight. If weighing is postponed until weaning, then the ewes maternal ability on early lamb growth is missed. If the flock has a compact lambing period then the mid point of lambing can be used to calculate the 8 week weigh date. Alternatively, if the date of birth is known then an adjusted 8 week weight can be calculated.
At the 8 week weighing, the weight and condition score of the ewes can be recorded as an indication of how much of their body reserves have been used to rear the lambs.