I dipped my toe in the water last week and killed a small batch of lambs, just to see what kind of kill-outs I’d get.

All lambs were dosed and weighed around seven weeks ago and were batched according to weight.

I batched them in three batches: a heavy batch where all lambs were above 40kg, a middle batch where the lambs weighed between 35kg and 40kg (this was the biggest batch), and a light batch where all lambs were between 30kg and 35kg.

I had 24 in the heavy batch and I then started to feed these lambs.

They were being fed light enough at the beginning, but for the past three to four weeks they were probably eating close to 1kg per head of Inisleigh’s high-energy intensive lamb nuts.

Good cover of flesh

I weighed this batch again two weeks ago and I had a good few lambs around 48kg and some at 49kg and 51kg with a good covering of flesh.

I asked a couple of sheep men, with more experience killing lambs than me, if they thought these lambs were heavy enough and I got mixed responses.

The general consensus was the lambs at 48kg would not be heavy enough to kill out at 23kg, this being the top weight that the factory are paying up to and obviously the weight that I am trying to hit, without going over it.

For anyone not familiar with how it works, if a farmer sends lambs to the factory that end up killing out at 24kg or 25kg deadweight, he or she will not get paid for the extra weight.

So, the key is trying to get as close to the top weight as possible without going over, a bit like Bruce’s price is right, back in the day.

Fed outside

My lambs are all ewe lambs and are being fed outside, so although they are being fed, they would not be expected to kill out as well as lambs being fed intensively indoors.

I thought the only way to know how they will kill is to kill a small batch and see what happens, so that’s what I did.

When the kill sheet came back mid-week, I was very pleasantly surprised

I picked three lambs that had weighed 51kg the previous week and one that had weighed 49kg.

Now bearing in mind these lambs were weighed wet, so I’m sure at least 1kg of that weight was water, I didn’t really have a clue what to expect.

When the kill sheet came back mid-week, I was very pleasantly surprised.

One lamb killed out at 23kg, which obviously was the weight I was aiming for, two lambs killed out 24kg and one killed out at 25kg. Three of them were slightly overweight, but at least I now have a benchmark to work off.

Hopefully, I’ll get another small draft away before Christmas, as there are definitely more ready.

I would assume this is my last article before Christmas, so have a happy one everybody.