Wet feeding a Market Lamb
Wet feeding is the process of adding water to your lamb's grain before feeding it. The advantages out weigh the disadvantages of wet feeding because the only real disadvantage to wet feeding your lamb is that it takes a little more time. The largest benefit of wet feeding is that it almost totally eliminates the probability of your lamb choking while eating. Many lambs have choked to death eating dry rations. They chow down quickly, especially if they are competing for food. The faster they eat, the greater the chance that they will choke. I like to compare wet feeding to eating corn flakes. Feeding dry grain is like eating dry cereal for people. If you add milk to your cereal, it goes down much easier. The same goes for sheep. Add water and the feed will go down easier. Wet feeding also eliminates feed dust. This dust can cause coughing in lambs, which can lead to more problems. Wet feeding is also great during show time. Often, we have to pull or hold water from lambs before a show. If your lamb is used to being wet fed, it will still be getting enough water for its body by eating. By consuming water while eating, your lamb is also less likely to go tank up on water after its meal. Some shows don't allow exhibitors to drench their lambs. If your lamb is used to wet feed, you can add your lamb's drench to their feed and the sheep will never even know it. Sheep that are wet fed will keep their teeth longer, which is great for show regulations.
How to Start Wet Feeding
If you have decided you would like to wet feed your lamb. Adding water to the feed must be done slowly, or else your lamb may not eat its feed at all. If you have just gotten your lamb, I wouldn't start wet feeding as soon as you get them home. New lambs or sheep are already stressed and if you start switching their routine immediately, it will only further stressing them. Wait about a week after you get your lamb before starting to wet feed. This gives the lamb enough time to adjust to its new surroundings and to you. To start wet feeding, I use a spray bottle and just spray the surface of the feed down before feeding my lambs. Most lambs won't even notice that there is water on their feed. Then, each day, or every other day, add a 2oz or more water than the previous time. Some lambs take right to wet feeding, while it may take others a little more time. If your lamb refuses to eat when you add more water, you may have added too much water too fast. Some people like their lamb's feed to be thick like cake batter, while others like theirs more like soup and the lambs literally drink their feed. I like to feed 8-10 oz of water per lamb, or I use 1 16.9 oz water bottle for 2 lambs. This is about the same amount of liquid in the drench when I substitute it for water closer to the show dates.
Feeding and exercise go hand in hand. Exercise is necessary to tone muscles and stimulate appetite. Exercise is an excellent way to condition your lambs and help control fat deposits.
You may just prefer walking the lamb for short periods at a very brisk pace. Whatever method you choose, make sure the lamb exercises strenuously over a short period of time, as an athlete would do wind sprints. In an exercise program, your goal is to exercise the lambs only long enough to get adrenalin running through their bodies. This process helps develop hard muscle.
Do not over exercise the lamb, as this can break down muscle. If you exercise the lambs too long, muscle gets torn down rather than developed.
Begin exercise programs 2 to 3 months before the show, depending upon the ration fed and the condition of the lambs. Do not make the mistake of exercising lambs before they are properly conditioned.
How to get your lamb to Brace!!
This clip is good for someone who had never even had a lamb before and was getting into it. The clip really doesn't give a lot of showmanship help. It shows how to get the lamb bracing good.
There are some links on the side of this clip that will give a few extra little tips. There is some helpful stuff for showmanship for the beginner.
Shaping Up: The Benifits of Isometric Exercise for Your Show Lambs
By: Scott Stebner
Stebner Club Lambs
While club lamb enthusiasts have been on a quest to increase muscle mass and firmness in their show lambs by chasing after the latest in feed supplements or by looking towards high tech methods of exercise, I feel that we have neglected a very simple, but very productive means to building maximum muscle tone, shape and volume.
Muscle structure is much the same in any animal. The basic muscle physiology of a cat is similar to that of a horse, and that of our show lambs is akin to our own body. With these close similarities, I see every reason to look towards human exercise techniques, mainly those used by body builders (people who are acutely concerned with muscle size and tone) to further understand and enhance our show lambs' exercise routines.
What I am referring to is a simple program of isometrics. This form of exercise involves muscular contractions, during which no shortening or lengthening of muscle occurs. In other words, there is no movement, but a constant and equal force or strain is placed on the muscles. This strain is achieved through pushing, pressing, or pulling against an immovable object. When performed properly, isometric exercises are capable of producing a deep level of muscular development. They burn calories, strengthen and tone muscle groups, improve the ability to hold a contraction, and increase muscle size. The key to applying the concepts of isometric exercise to our club lamb workout program is finding a way to adapt the techniques of isometrics to the unique needs of our animals. We need to find ways to isolate the target muscles with specific exercises that can be done with sheep.
Where isometrics differ from our usual exercise and strength training is that instead of repetition (isotonic exercise), duration is emphasized. For example, instead of performing ten push-ups, one would push off the floor to a bent arm position and hold for ten seconds. We are looking for equal and sustained resistance.
So how does this apply to your lamb and your program? How do you get your lamb to perform isometric exercises? I believe our exercise programs need to be two tiered; the first involves conditioning and calorie burning, the other is more focused on building and defining muscle. Since the muscle groups should be warmed up before performing isometrics, we suggest that you focus on calorie burning and conditioning as your "warm-up". Whether you track, treadmill, or walk your lambs, isometric exercises should be performed after your usual workout. The reason is that isometrics deals with a constant pressure on the muscles, and since it is the tearing of these muscle fibers and the rebuilding of them that leads to increased bulk and definition, we want the muscles of our show lambs to be stretched and warm before we put this force on them. As with any athlete, after strenuous exercise, there must be a cool down period. This could be as simple as a leisurely walk home, allowing the lamb's respiration and heart rate to return normal.
Now that we know when to perform isometric exercise, how do we do them and which muscle groups shall we target? The exercise that I describe targets the loin and leg. I suggest that you find a hill, slant, (or for those of you in Nebraska, a lamb stand) at about a forty-degree incline. Place the lamb's front legs on level ground at the top of the incline. Gently push the lamb's hind end down the incline so that he is now facing uphill. Be sure that the lamb is not overextending his hind legs or that he is "breaking" at the loin, as this can damage the muscle group over the loin.
To start off, we push on the lamb's brisket with one hand while holding the head in the other. Allow the lamb to drop its head somewhat, as this helps to tense the muscles over the top line. At this point, the lamb should be pushing into your hand, wanting to get to the top of the hill or incline. Offer just enough resistance to hold the lamb steady in its place. When starting out, push for a count of five to ten seconds and then release. Keep in mind, we are teaching the lamb at this stage as well as working the muscles. Try ten "sets" of this, with short rest periods in between, then allow the lamb on its final set to make its way up the hill and return to level ground.
Each day you should increase the duration of each set and decrease the number of sets. For example, after a week or two you could be working on three or four sets of a minute or two each. These numbers are not set in stone but will vary somewhat with the strength and condition of each lamb. Notice how your lamb's heart and respiration rates increase as he works against the static pressure of your hand. Just as your muscles may "quiver" as you reach muscle fatigue, so will the lamb's. This is your indication to stop the set and provide a rest period. When we were still showing, we would be working several lambs, alternating them so that each lamb would have a rest/recovery period back on level ground of a minute or two. After your last exercise, a short walk of three to four minutes should cool him down and stretch his muscles.
Once you understand the concept of working isolated muscle groups through isometrics, you will find new ways to work selected muscles that you target. Some experimentation and close observation on your part will allow you to tailor an exercise program to your lamb's specific needs. One word of caution should be mentioned here. Lambs that may be prone to prolapse need to be watched carefully when trying these exercises. Not only are you on a slant, which can put pressure on the rectum, but you are asking the lamb to strain his muscles in this position. If you are at all concerned that your lamb may have this tendency to prolapse, you can perform these exercises on flat ground, and ask for less effort with each set. Again, adapt these exercises to your unique needs and situation.
In addition to building muscle mass and increasing definition, isometrics have other benefits. Since the heart and respiratory rates are increased, extra calories that would ordinarily be converted to fat and extra gain will be burned. It will also prepare your lamb for the work to be done in the show ring. In the ring, your lamb must be able to sustain a hard brace for long periods of time. As with any exercise, when muscle groups are strained there is a lactic acid build up. (Lactic acid is what causes the burning in your muscles that you feel during exercise). Isometrics teaches the body to handle this lactic acid build-up so your lamb will be able to push harder and longer, and will show less fatigue in the show ring.
So what are the benefits of integrating isometrics into your daily exercise program? With time, you will notice increased definition and muscle mass. You will find the lamb converting feed into lean muscle instead of additional fat. And finally, after a long day of showing, in that final drive your lamb will have the endurance to keep a hard brace when it matters most.
Basic Lamb Needs
Lean muscle consists of more than 70 percent water. You should provide clean, fresh water to keep the lambs body functioning at peak levels. In the summer months, some lambs drink too much water and appear “full.” Never with hold water from your lamb if water is limited their feed consumption will decline.
Protein requirements for lambs vary according to their size, age. Young lambs need rations that contain 16 to 18 percent protein to allow them to grow and develop their muscle potential. Feed lambs lower protein diets during the finishing stage. Older lambs are easily finished on rations containing 11 to 12 percent protein.
Carbohydrates and fats provide energy for growth. Not enough energy in the lamb feed reduces growth and causes weight loss. A good supply of energy is necessary for efficient nutrient use. Grain and protein supplements are high in energy, and hay contains less carbohydrates and fats.
Minerals are important in lamb rations. The main ones are salt, calcium, and phosphorus. Loose salt and a loose trace mineral (copper free) for sheep should be fed free choice at all times. Calcium and phosphorus are necessary for proper growth and development. Use a mineral ration that contains ammonium chloride to help prevent urinary calculi in wethers and ram lambs.
Vitamins are essential for proper body function. Only vitamin A is likely to be deficient. If lambs receive alfalfa hay or dehydrated alfalfa hay pellets in the ration, then vitamin A deficiency should not be a problem. Give show lambs vitamin B complex weekly to keep them maintaining peak fitness.
Generally lambs will gain about one-half pound per day. Not all lambs will be fed to the same final weight because of differences in frame size. Large-frame lambs may be correctly finished at 140 pounds and above, and small-frame lambs may be correctly finished at 110 pounds. Learn to look at indicators of frame size–length of head, neck, cannon bone, and body–and estimate the weight at which a lamb will be correctly finished. Monitor your lamb’s size closely because correctness of finish will be the most important factor when you show your lamb. Remember, size alone does not make a good lamb: There are good little lambs and good big lambs. Your feed and exercise program are the key.
You have a choice of feeding a commercially prepared ration, mixing your own. It is difficult to balance the calcium to phosphorus ratio and properly mix the feed. There are complete commercial rations available that do an excellent job. Remember there is no “quick fix” ration. Find a balanced ration, learn how to feed it, and watch how your lambs grow.
Feeding lambs individually allows you to know the amount each lamb eats each day. Monitor fat deposits closely throughout the feeding program. Adjust the feeding schedule to modify weight gain and the lambs body condition, but keep checking the lambs’ progress so that changes in the feeding program are made as needed.
Adding a high-energy ingredient such as barley during the late stages of the feeding program can bolster rations that are not producing enough finish. This additive will reduce the overall protein content of the ration and provide the extra energy needed during cold weather.
Never make quick changes in your feeding program. Gradual changes are better and help keep the lambs on feed so they continue to develop. The feeding program will tell you how your lambs develop and mature.
A good feeding program will not make up for a lack of superior genetics, but it will allow your lambs to reach their genetic potential. A poor feeding program will waste a lamb’s great genetic potential. Feeding is a daily responsibility; change the program as needed to maximize your results.
To monitor progress, weigh lambs regularly. Know whether your lambs are gaining or losing weight. Check for the formula on how to tell their weight without a scale on this web site.
Pictures of our new Rams
for the 2011 lamb crop posted soon!!
Last lamb crop for Limo May 2011
Also lambs from a GUNSLINGER Son TUGBOAT
An a SPOT Grandson CHECK MARK