Managing Lambs in Winter Feedlots

July 24, 2021

Feedlotting lambs, with self-feeders, is usually a straightforward job – but more fun in the dry. Most lambs, that are held back and taken through the summer on stubbles, tend to enter the feedlot in the autumn and are finished before conditions become too wet and cold. Although prices received from the processors usually spike for the winter delivery period, feeding lambs through this time of year is not for everyone, as feedlotting during winter months comes with its own set of challenges.

To ensure the success of a winter feedlot, site selection is paramount. A well-draining, elevated site that allows surface water run-off, will provide a drier place for the lambs to sit down. With this winter’s higher than normal rainfall, lamb feedlots in the southwest of WA are much wetter than we have seen over the last 3 winters. This is providing challenges for the feeders through higher consumption of energy by the animal just to stay warm. The processors also face challenges with lambs often carrying more mud on their legs and bellies, making hygiene more difficult.  To overcome these issues, Milne Feeds sheep specialist, Brett Blanchett, suggests that feedlot site selection really becomes the most critical factor in providing surface water runoff and collection, as well as shade for the hotter months.

The lambs in this photo are on LambGro adlib and doing very well despite the wet and cold conditions.