Can I buy a young lamb to grow out for butchering on my own place?

Yes, you can. We don’t always have the optimal schedule for this if you are trying to maximize  use of your summer graze. Most of our lambs are born in April, and are weaned at 90 or 120 days of age; so are ready to leave here in July or August. But, we do sometimes have some earlier-born lambs, or bottle lambs that are weaned in early June.

If taking on lambs less than 3 months old, it’s best if they can be supplemented while on grass. Lambs are born with an undeveloped rumen, and it doesn’t fully mature to make the best use of grass until they are 3-4 months old. Young lambs can fail to thrive if transitioned onto pasture alone, especially if your grass isn’t perfectly maintained in a “boot high” vegetative stage with no seed heads. Lambs can benefit from either a grain source (corn-oats-barley “COB” or a pelleted sheep or allstock feed) or alfalfa. This feeds their “true stomach” and boosts growth and immune strength during the phase when their rumens are still maturing. Here on our farm, lambs benefit from nursing throughout the summer, so they are getting that extra protein boost on top of their graze. Lambs can be transitioned to good grass alone as early as eight weeks of age, but you may see some stagnation in growth progress for a few months before they “catch up.”