Delayed Weaning Proves Beneficial
When do you wean your lambs? In 2014 and 2015, two experiments were conducted in Ohio to determine the effect of weaning age on the health and performance of lambs.
In the first experiment, two weaning options were compared: 1) Lambs were either weaned at 60 days and put on pasture (PC); or 2) left with their mothers until weaning at 123 days (E). E lambs had higher body weights and average daily gain than PC lambs. 41.7 percent of the PC lambs required deworming whereas none of the E lambs required anthelmintic treatment. The E lambs had higher packed cell volumes.
In the second experiment, four weaning options were compared: 1) lambs were weaned at 60 days and put on pasture (PC); 2) lambs were left with their mothers until weaning at 123 days (E); 3) lambs were weaned at 60 days and placed on pasture with non-lactating, non-related ewes (SF); and 4) lambs were weaned at 60 days and put in a feed lot (FC).
None of the E lambs required anthelmintic treatment, whereas 5, 50, and 55 percent of the lambs in the FC, PC, and SF groups required deworming. E lambs had the greatest final body weights, whereas the FC had the highest average daily gain.
Delayed weaning in both experiments proved to be beneficial. For producers that are interested in utilizing more pasture, decreasing the use of anthelmintics, and decreasing the amount of grain require to finish lambs, delayed weaning may be a viable option.