WHY IS IT BETTER TO LAMB EWES IN AUTUMN INSTEAD OF WINTER
By Nosiphiwo Salmani, NWGA Production Advisor
XHOSA (English below)
Ngokwe ndalo phantsi kweemeko eziqhelekileyo apho kukho khona uhlaza/ingca eyaneleyo iimazi ziye zifune iinkunzi rhoqo emva kweenzuku ezisi xenxe, lonto ithetha ukuthi iimazi ziyakwazi ukuthatha inkuzi kwimijikelo emibini oko kukuthi nge 34 days. Kodwa nje ngomfama kubalulekile ukuba uli lawule ixesha loku khwelisa neloku zalisa ujonge isimo sezulu nokuba ikhona no iingca eyaneleyo edlelweni.
Ekwindla ke lelona xesha enyakeni kubakhokhona iimvula ezibangela ukuba ingca ibeninzi edlelweni. Amadlelo abaluhlaza abenezondlo kakhulu. Eli ke lelona xesha lilungele ukuba iimali zizale ngoba zizakube zihlutha zinobisi olwaneleyo ukondla amatakane, kwanamatakane ayakhawuleza ukufunda ukuchola chola ingca xa iluhlaza ithambile. Kungako ke kubalulekile xa ungumfama ozimiseleyo okwenza imali ngeshishini lakho leegusha ukuba ukhwelise iimazi xakuphela intwasa hlobo ukwenzela zifumane amatakane ngexesha lase kwindla. Oku ke konga imale yokuthenga ukutya kwemfuyo ngoba kuthi kufika ubusika abe amatakane sekhule ngokwaneleyo ekwazi ukumelane neemeko zase busika.
Ebusika lelona xesha lomileyo libandayo enyakeni, xa amatakane ezalwa elixesha ayafa amaninzi, umfama ulahlekelwa yimali eninzi ngoba kufuneka ethenge ukutya okongezelelweyo kuba amadlelo omile. Xa zilamba iimazi azikwazi uvelisa ubisi olwaneleyo lokundla amatakane. Icebiso lelokuba amafama ilitshintshe elixesha lasebusika lokuzalise azalise ekwindla lonto iyakunceda ukuba umfama abenemali epokothweni. Oku ke kuyenzeka xa amafama ebambisene, kukho intsebenziswano.
Naturally, under normal conditions where herbage is plenty, ewes go on heat after every seventh day, meaning that if ewes that are in good condition are put to rams, conception in possible in two cycles(34 days). But as a farmer it is important to control mating and lambing time taking into consideration weather conditions and availability of herbage at the time of mating and lambing.
Autumn becomes the season where we experience heavy rains and herbage is in abundance. The veld is at its fullest especially on sweet veld areas where herbage is most palatable as it has reached its climax. This is the best time to expect lambs because the lambing ewes will have enough milk and lambs will start grazing while grass is still green and soft. So it is important for committed farmers to mate his/her ewes late in spring for autumn lambing. This also saves in terms money used for supplementary feeding because by the time winter comes lambs are already fully grown.
Winter is a very dry and cold season and if ewes lamb during this period, farmers lose a lot of money by buying supplementary feed. You also experience high lamb mortalities because the ewes are not in a good condition to provide enough milk for the lambs. It is therefore advisable that farmers change the winter season to autumn for high profit on their sheep farming businesses. It is possible if farmers can work together.