The advantages of mating at 7-9 months, if the ewe lambs are of adequate liveweight and condition are several:
- Longer reproductive life – an extra lambing opportunity.
- More fertile and better mothers during their lifetimes.
- Reduced generation interval and therefore higher genetic gains in flocks which breed their own replacements.
- Potentially more lambs bred per ewe lifetime and hence greater profits.
- In flocks that purchase replacement ewes, they shouls be cheaper than 3-tooths.
What are the disadvantages of early joining?
- Higher skill levels required to adequately manage the flock, especially in feeding the young ewes.
- Greater flock supervision required to minimize lamb losses.
- Lambing percentages may be lower from young mothers.
- Weaning weights may be lower from young mothers.