Farm Di­ary

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Growing -

How to creep out your lambs

Creep graz­ing is an in­ex­pen­sive and sim­ple way to get bet­ter weight gain on lambs, es­pe­cially twins. Graz­ing ex­per­i­ments in NZ have shown:

• creep grazed lambs are up to 5kg heav­ier than those

not creep grazed; • creep graz­ing works best from when the lamb is 6 weeks of age un­til wean­ing.

There’s no an­noy­ing fence moves re­quired ei­ther, just mi­nor ad­just­ments to a ver­ti­cally barred gate (see be­low). Lambs can freely move through them and graze on fresh grass with­out hav­ing to com­pete against adult sheep, but are able to move back to re­join their moth­ers for milk, pro­tec­tion and com­fort when they need it.

The bonus: the small amount of graz­ing by the lambs tends to im­prove pas­ture re­growth, a ben­e­fit when the pad­dock is later opened up to adult graz­ing stock.

Lamb weights will start to re­spond in Week 7 as they got more used to (and hun­gry for) grass, but ac­cess through the gate should be al­lowed from Week 5 so the lambs have time to get used to it.


• paint­ing creep gates or­ange makes it eas­ier for lambs to find the gates – lambs can easily see the colour or­ange.

• min­eral licks by the gates (placed as an

at­trac­tion) does not in­crease use­age.

• creep graz­ing as a method is less suc­cess­ful on

steep, rolling coun­try, es­pe­cially in large pad­docks.

• the best pas­ture mix for lamb weight gain is red clover and rape, both of which are more nu­tri­tious than grass.

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