Getting the most out of store lambs

21st July 2017

Becky Smith Becky Smith

Please note: the views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of SellMyLivestock.

Maximising returns from store lambs starts with sourcing them. Paying that bit more from a private seller you know is reputable is often better than cheaper animals of unknown health status. Store lambs are available in large quantities from auction marts throughout the autumn, or privately advertised. SellMyLivestock receives a large volume of store lamb adverts throughout the autumn and winter seasons, these lambs range from forward continental crosses to smaller horned lambs which come off the hills and mountains.

Finding store lambs for sale

Firstly, you must source animals that suit your system; are you looking for short keep store lambs such as Hampshire Downs, or are you looking for longer keep hill lambs like Swaledales? Time, season and availability will all dictate price, often it can be better to sit tight and buy later; another benefit of buying store lambs online is that you can see what is out there and track the price from the comfort of your home, without taking time up visiting markets or ringing round.

Ideally you want to be buying from farms whose lambs have received clostridial vaccinations as transport and mixing stress can trigger disease. Equally, lambs should have been treated with an approved pour on/dip prior to arriving at your farm to prevent scab, ticks and blowfly.

When selecting any breed of store lamb, the basic selection principles should be the same. Is the lamb bright eyed and clean, especially around the tail? Does it appear in good health? Those with any visible defect e.g undershot jaws or cud droppers should be discarded as these are likely to be poor doers. Look carefully for lame animals or those with Orf symptoms as these could introduce disease onto your farm. Another important consideration is worms and in particular Liver fluke. If possible, lambs should be wormed prior to travel or immediately once purchased.

Caring for Store Lambs

Once they have arrived on farm, new batches of store lambs should be kept separate from other animals already on the farm. This quarantine prevents the spread of disease, reduces stress and allows the rapid identification and isolation of problem animals/batches. Intact ram lambs should be kept separate from ewe and wether stores to reduce fighting and stress from the rams chasing after ewe lambs. By separating store ram lambs, you can also take advantage of their better feed conversion and growth rates.

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