Alfalfa Pellets...any one fed them?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by ONThorsegirl, Jun 24, 2006.

  1. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    I was wondering if anyone has fed Alfalfa pellets to their sheep/lambs?
    How did you feed it? What were the results?

    Melissa
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    We had several fatal frothy bloats feeding a complete ration (plus hay/grass) on pellets. Seems harmless unlder 25% (maybe more) I avoid feeding them personally, too mushy once inside the sheep.
     

  3. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    Ok thanks Ross, how much were you feeding? Would the amount fed determine the bloat or is it just a factor when feeding pellets?

    Melissa
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Certainly amount fed did matter, they were slowly worked up to a full free choice ration as directed by the feed dealer. So much for followign directions, I suspect that was just too much. We have used a protein suppliment in pellet form in a restricted ration where it comprised 25% of the ration. I had a coccistat added, and I wanted to ensure they got enough mineral. I've backed off all pelleted feeds and just go with a whole or rolled grains ration as it just seems to work better. For mineral I add a molasass lick tub protein/mineral suppliment.
     
  5. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

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    Melissa,

    A friend of mine has been feeding alfalfa pellets over the past few months to her sheep. She slowly worked up to half a pound per head 2x/day along with free choice low quality hay, that was all she was able to find at this that time so therefore chose to switch over to the pellets.
    However, after devasting losses of 2 ewes just this past week due to copper toxicity, we are awaiting the lab results of the pellets since that was the only obvious variable over the last couple years.

    Deb
     
  6. RandB

    RandB Well-Known Member

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    Gosh, it seems like you all have had problems with the pellets! We have one old ewe that is kind of a pet. We noticed this past winter she is unable to chew and swallow her hay much, anymore. We would pull big wads of it out of her mouth at feeding time. She was also getting very skinny and was weakening. We figured maybe her time had come, but before we got rid of her I got a bag of alfalfa pellets to try for her. We would lock her up at night in a stall with some grain in one feeder, and about a coffee can of alf. pellets too. It really did the trick! She fattened right up again and got back to normal.
    We never noticed her having any problem eating or digesting them, they saved her life!
     
  7. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

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    Ross,

    I too have recently backed off on the pellets, switching over to whole grains (+ mineral), for the lambs.
    Just wondering if there may end up being any problems with UC since the ram lambs won't be getting any Ammonium Chloride.
    I did the same thing last year but didn't keep any ram lambs so I don't know if this is something to be concerned about.
    Our mature rams don't get anything in the way of grain, just grass/hay and mineral and have not had problems. (hope I didn't just jinx them)

    Thanks,

    Deb
     
  8. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

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    RandB,

    Actually, a few years ago, I was feeding them to a 13 year old ewe along with rolled steamed oats and cracked corn (the same thing I was feeding my 36 year old mare) and she did fine with the pellets too :)

    Deb
     
  9. 6e

    6e Farm lovin wife Supporter

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    We feed our sheep a mix that the co-op makes for us consisting of whole oats, rolled corn and milo and alfalfa pellets along with molasses and bean meal. They seem to be doing very well on it. We feed them about a pound per head once a day in the evening when we call them off pasture for the night. I think our sheep would just fall over and die if we didn't bring them their grain. We haven't had any trouble with them so far. The only reason we feed the alfalfa pellets is because all we have available is grass hay and that doesn't seem to keep the weight on them as well as I'd like.
     
  10. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    Thanks everyone fore the answers and information about the alfalfa pellets.

    The reason I asked about the pellets is because I saw them at our feed store, and thought they might work good at helping our lambs gain some wieght for our shows comming up.

    I have been feeding(Grain):
    Pen of 3 market Lambs:
    2 scoops of whole corn, 1 scoop of whole barley, 1 scoop of Coarse Mix Grains(cracked corn, rolled barley, rolled oats, and Mollases), , and 1 scoop of Alfalfa Pellets. In total it is about 10 pounds of feed.

    Pen of 4 Replacement Ewe Lambs:
    1 scoop of whole corn, 1 scoop of whole barley, 1 scoop of Coarse Mix Grains(cracked corn, rolled barley, rolled oats, and Mollases), and 1 scoop of Alfalfa Pellets. Works out to about 9 pounds of feed


    They seem to like it and they do like the Alfalfa Pellets.

    Melissa
     
  11. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    "Just wondering if there may end up being any problems with UC since the ram lambs won't be getting any Ammonium Chloride."

    Sinmple solution. Go to your local feed mill and order ammonium chloride in bulk. Here it costs me 70 cents per pound. Add approx 1 tsp (1/5 ounce) per ram per day to his grain mix.
     
  12. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    I was wondering what Ammonium Chloride has to do with rams and what does it do? I have never heard of feeding it before now.

    Melissa
     
  13. 6e

    6e Farm lovin wife Supporter

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    It keeps them from getting urinary stones. It comes from an imbalance between calcium and potassium I believe. It's discussed a lot in the goat forum. You get an imbalance when you feed a lot of grain, not so much when the diet is based on grass and hay.
     
  14. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    Oh Ok thanks,

    Our Mature sheep are a pasture raised with grain fed once a week or so, more as a treat than to supplement their diet. We shouldn't have problems with the urinary stones.

    Melissa
     
  15. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    We had a lamb who almost died from choking; don't feed is my recommendation. Also lost some to frothy bloat when we feed alfalfa.
     
  16. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    "Our Mature sheep are a pasture raised with grain fed once a week or so, more as a treat than to supplement their diet."

    Feeding anything, including grain on a once in a week or so basis is a waste and can hurt your animals. UNLIKE a horse, a dog, a pig, or you, ruminant animals depend on having the proper bacteria in the rumen to digest whatever they eat. Grain on a once in awhile basis never lets the proper bacteria get established to properly digest the food and the result can be GAS and bloat or worse. Feed it regularly or don't feed it at all is my motto. Its why I feed some of each of the four kinds of hay I have on a daily basis. It keeps them used to each kind of hay in case I run into a shortage and had to switch to one or the other kinds.

    Consistency as to feeds, timing of feeding, clean water are primary keys to a healthy flock.
     
  17. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Amen to that. I don't worry switching hay as such, KNOWING that a rapid switch in quality carries some risk for bloat or polio. Hay to silage or hay to pasture are far bigger worries IMO. Hay demands water, water dilutes the risk. As Yucca says CLEAN water is important.
     
  18. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Darn looks like we had another data crunching crash a while back. I had answered EIEIOMOM's Q on UC by saying I hadn't seen it on the farm (diagnosed at least) and that reply appears to be absent. You'd think I'd be "in the know" wouldn't ya!?
     
  19. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Ross,

    And maybe that might explain the problems I am having.....
    When I go to the homepage of HT and click sheep, it is stuck in last week's messages and then can access the present messages by clicking the bottom sheep forum. Feel like I am stuck in a time warp, any ideas, not very literate on computers, but my teenage sons tell me I am doing better than I used to :)

    Deb
     
  20. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I've noticed that too, it may be loading from your computers Cache memory if the net is being slow. I just click reload and its fine.