How long to keep ewes off feed pre shearing?

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10 years 8 months ago #35616 by hilldweller
Normally I get away with just putting them in the pen first thing and the shearer turns up late morning/lunchtime which gives them time to empty out a bit and they're only off grass for a few hours. However looking at the forecast (showers the day before, but OK on shearing day itself) I'm thinking that this time around I might have to shed them overnight to be sure they're dry in the morning. They'll be 6 weeks from the start of lambing. If I have to do that, should I give them some hay overnight? They will eat hay if offered it.

And also, while I think of it, how much space are you supposed to give sheep in sheds before shearing? I have noticed that ads for real farms describe covered yards in terms of how many 'woollies' they can hold, not square metres, so presume there is some accepted formula?

Jo Otago: expect snow on Tues LOL[;)]

hilldweller

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10 years 8 months ago #466455 by RaeM
We used to shed our ewes up the night before shearing, but then we had over 2000 ewes, and could shed up 1200 so that meant that the shearers could get on and do a days work even if it had rained. It sould not hurt the ewes, and no I would not give them any hay, as its going to contaminate the wool, and it would be worth nothing if its full of hay bits. The ewes dont need very much room, so just load what you can into your shelter.

RaeM

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10 years 8 months ago #466492 by hilldweller
Thanks RaeM. If it was the summer shear after weaning I wouldn't worry - it's just that they're a bit closer to lambing than I had hoped they would be. So you think they'll be OK, even at this stage?

I've worked out they'll have about 1sqm each. Hopefully enough to lie down.

hilldweller

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10 years 8 months ago #466539 by LongRidge
I think that sheep are able to lock their joints, similarly to the way that horses can, and keep standing without using much energy. My professional friends pack the ewes in tight, so that they cannot sit down.
If your ewes have been scanned, do the multiples before the singles. No hay or salt lick, because it will make them thirsty.

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10 years 8 months ago #466557 by hilldweller
I found this www.business.govt.nz/healthandsafetygrou...hearingGuideline.pdf which may be of help to others with the same or similar questions. It gives guidelines for max and min times off feed for different classes of sheep including ewes at different stages of pregnancy, and supports what RaeM said. My late pregnancy ewes should be fine overnight, but shouldn't go without feed for more than 24 hours.

LR you're probably right about standing. I see paddocks of usually cattle but sometimes also sheep being break fed on crops at this time of year, in wet muddy paddocks, and have noticed both species seem to avoid lying down. They don't look very content but presumably it's not doing them harm.

hilldweller

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10 years 8 months ago #466565 by 4trees
Hi, We always leave the lights on in the shed at night.and always have done, the sheep stay a lot cleaner, and do not sit in poo in the shed and get the wool dirty. Make sure you have a sheltered paddock for after shearing, or feed out plenty of hay. Cheers.

Cheers
http:treeandshrub.co.nz

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10 years 8 months ago #466602 by Jo-Otago

hilldweller;468639 wrote: Jo Otago: expect snow on Tues LOL[;)]

Oh awesome, cheers HD! [}:)]
Like you, I get a bit twitchy holding the girls off feed as we get closer to lambing, esp. those with multiples. It's a fine balance between not shearing on a full gut and risking metabolic disorders. I guess I'd shed them as late as possible and hope the shearer turns up early. And get him to shear any that look heavily in lamb or I'm concerned about first. Good luck! This weekend's weather certainly isn't conducive for anything being dry... :(

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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