How much to charge for lamb rearing?

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4 months 6 days ago #559211 by Dr Spock
Hi all. I've agreed to rear 18 lambs on behalf of a local farmer. He's providing all the milk powder and starter mix, I'm providing the labour, time, some travel when I come home from work to feed them (8km) and I guess the grass they eat before they are weaned and go back to him. Neither of us have any idea how to charge it out. I don't think it's feasible to charge on an hourly rate as that would end up costing more than the lambs are ultimately worth. How much would/do others charge? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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4 months 5 days ago #559214 by LongRidge
I've not done this, but I would be inclined to do it on a weight gain basis.
Are the lambs to go into his flock, or are they going to the works? It is very convenient having hand-reared sheep in the flock, but they usually don't live as long as ewe-reared lambs. When I'm rearing lambs to go into the flock I try to give them a chance to develop worm resistance, so they don' get as much drenching as lambs to be culled. But they do need drenching with probiotics and minerals as often as works lambs.
I've also found that feeding young lambs only twice daily tends to be a disaster. Ours get 4 feeds per day until about 8 weeks, and then the number of daily feeds gets reduced, and at 10 weeks the quantity gets reduced. We always feed until 12 weeks old or until they are 20 kg, whichever comes last.

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3 months 4 weeks ago #559226 by max2
Added value wise, I would think some for the home freezer would be best...  I have just reared several orphans from our flock (recently lost one to either bloat or something it ate in our garden that it shouldn't have), and by the time I have bought several bags of lamb milk powder and excluding my time, its pretty close to how much these critters would be worth as prime currently at our local sales yard.   Personally i think the money is only there if you can do it from your own milk supply.

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3 months 2 weeks ago #559243 by Dr Spock
Yes, I agree that it would be worth it if you had your own milk supply but also had the land to carry them through beyond weaning.
Last year when I reared lambs the milk powder just about equaled how much I made on them (not taking my time into consideration) The year before was better but it is a fickle market and you can't always tell which way it is going to go. I'm surprised the farmer is willing to pay me to do it for him especially as I've heard the price for lambs will be even lower than last year.
I suggested $30 per lamb as I couldn't possibly charge him minimum hourly wage lol. He thinks that is a bit low, wow, but he hasn't looked at his milk powder bill yet. He might change his mind then.
The following user(s) said Thank You: max2

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3 months 1 week ago #559246 by max2
I've got a ''buy'' order in currently with our stock agent at $70 for good quality store lambs.   So far it hasn't been filled but the prices seem very variable on agonline and ewes were low last week. 

I'm hearing the red meat market in Aussie is not very good and they are expecting that to transfer over here. 

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3 months 1 week ago #559252 by sugarpie
When I was in a similar situation, I charged a flat fee per lamb per day. It seemed to work well for both parties involved. Just make sure to factor in your time, travel, and any other expenses.

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