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Days of our Lives- Lamb

In Australia, virtually all breeds of sheep are suitable for meat production of various qualities, though there is a considerable difference between sheep bred for wool and those bred for meat.


Cross breeding of sheep breeds help increase the productivity of lamb production. Lambs bred for the purpose of meat production are called prime lambs. Almost all sheep are bred naturally, requiring no more than a producer introducing rams (males) to the ewe (females) flocks in a free range environment. The gestation period of a ewe is around 147 days or 5 months.   Ewes, especially cross-bred or meat breeds have a tendency towards multiple births (usually twins).   Lambs born in late winter/early spring are given the name ‘Spring Lamb’. 

Weaning is when a lamb comes off its mother’s milk on to grass.  Lambs can be weaned from as early as 6 weeks, but it is usually done around 12-20 weeks after birth. The age lambs are weaned also depends on the availability of quality pasture for them to start grazing on.

The age that lambs are slaughtered depends on market demands. Lambs as small as 12-14kgs dressed weight are supplied as suckling lamb, while tThe majority of lambs prepared for the Australian market are around 18-24kgs dressed weight range.

Specifications a producer might use to determine whether lambs are ready for market are market-preferred weight, fat score and age.