Our oldest lamb, Lily, is 6 weeks old now. Violet is 5 weeks old. Both of them are still nursing but also eating some of the hay and grain that their mothers eat. But as they are getting older, and closer to weaning, it is a good idea to provide a creep feeder. A creep feeder is a place where the lambs can go to have access to feed that the ewes can’t get to. It helps prevent ewes getting to fat, while giving growing lambs plenty of nutrition. Once the lambs are weaned the ewes wont need grain and alfalfa anymore, but the growing lambs still will. The creep feeder will continue to be used after weaning as well to make sure every sheep is getting what they need, and not getting what they don’t.
We made a very easy creep feeder using one of our lambing stalls. If you have been following us for a few months you saw that last March we built two lambing stalls out of pallets:
You can kind of see in the pictures, that the wall that divides the stalls has a full pallet towards the front, but that didn’t quite reach to the wall. And yet there wasn’t enough space for another full pallet to get to the wall. So we used some scrap wood to make a few slats from that pallet to the wall to finish the diver wall.
For our creep feeder we took down the stall on the right side, leaving just the stall on the left. Then we took out a few of the slats that we used to hook to the wall. We took out the ones close to the ground. The hole to get into that stall is low and small enough the ewes can’t get through it, but the lambs have no problem ducking down and under to get into the stall.
It took a few tries to get it just the right height. On our first try we thought it was low enough, but then we shook a grain bin and put it in the creep feeding stall and all of a sudden we had all 5 sheep in there jostling each other around. We lowered it and were able to find the perfect spot to allow lambs in, but keep ewes out.
We have been using the creep feeder for over a week now and it is working wonderfully. It is hard to believe the lambs are already eating grain and hay, and that in a few weeks we will begin weaning them. We need to start thinking about which sheep we will keep and which will be sold. As much as we wish we did, we just don’t have space to keep 5 ewes. It has been very fun having lambs for the first time this year, but they grow up so fast!