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Discussion Starter #1
Still learning the ropes and what does everyone feed in hay amounts to there bred ewes? I'm giving a flake a day plus grain, 1.5pounds a ewe because of poor condition going into lambing season. Learning the ropes is tough!!
 

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4 or 5 lbs. of GOOD quality hay. What grain are your feeding? Because the amount can depend on what it is. Also, I would recommend a free choice mineral, to ensure good health and proper feed efficiency.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The feed is a ewe developer from a local feed store, but the hay qty seems to be correct?? Thanks Steve
 

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I find feed amounts to vary depending on the ewe, the breed, (size), but especially the weather. I should have pointed out these amounts are what we feed during our winter weather.

When it gets REAL cold, they eat more, and nearly constantly, relative to when it is more moderate outside.

5 ish lbs for hay is a decent rule of thumb.

Do you know about body condition scoring? If not it would be a good thing to check out for future reference. Sheep are very responsive to having the correct body condition at the correct times of their production cycle, and will reward you well, if you take care of their seasonal needs!
 

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The scoring ive been working on I seem to only have one that the shortribs have some rounding to them, the others have filled in because of the increase in feed.
 

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I guess my big reservation is not feeding to much we had one prolapse last year and it was a pain. So do you feed hay twice a day to give them four pounds a day each?? I weighed up two flakes and it came to about 2.5 pounds and to give six ewes 12 flakes a day seems like a lot plus feed. What am I missing?? Thanks again Steve
 

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We have a small flock 1 dorset 3 sulfok hamp crosses then then two open lamb Brockels I understand the open and bred have different needs my concern is for how much hay can be fed with grain so I don't stress out the bred ewes. They are around the 180 to 200lb mark(bred ewes). Just found something online which helps also


Free access to pasture or 2 ½ to 4 lbs. of grass hay
Grain feeding is not necessary unless forage is exceptionally poor or females are underconditioned.
Free choice minerals
One to two gallons of fresh, clean water.
 

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I guess my big reservation is not feeding to much we had one prolapse last year and it was a pain. So do you feed hay twice a day to give them four pounds a day each?? I weighed up two flakes and it came to about 2.5 pounds and to give six ewes 12 flakes a day seems like a lot plus feed. What am I missing?? Thanks again Steve
I am not very scientific in my feeding! I do know what my bales weigh on average, but I go more by how the sheep are acting. I feed in the morning, but if it is really cold, and they do not settle down, but eat it all at once, then seem to need more, I give them more. Each day is different, nothing is really constant for us at least.

Right now, our ewes are in the cheap maintenance mode. They are month from breeding, a couple weeks from flushing, so they are eating my worst quality hay right now, just to keep them going. They score around a 3 right now. In a couple weeks, I will begin flushing, working up to a lb of barley, and working them into the better hay, so they are gaining condition. The good thing with our winters, is our breeding lines up with when the really cold weather hits, so we have good luck in not getting them too fat.

I hope others chime in too, I am by no means a sheep expert, I do not like giving advice without having others back me up! In other words, take my advice with care, and do not lean on my ideas too much, there are many correct ways to raise stuff!
 

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I have a friend that runs a sheep milk business. He feeds hay at 3 - 5% of ewes body weight for pregnant - lactating ewes. We are located in Northern California (Sonoma county), gets chilly here but rarely snows.
 

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I feed my two 1,000 pound horses 4 flakes of hay EACH per day in the winter. So, I figure my Katahdin girls are around ~ 150 pounds - four flakes should feed up to 6 or 7 sheep per day if doing a comparison by weight. Of course, there are other variables of what type of hay you are using and if they receive grain, etc. My sheep also get sheep pellet feed and whole corn once a day. But, I will watch them and make sure they are getting enough for the winter. I am breeding for spring lambs - so, I won't need to bump up their feed until next year.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I've been feeding two flakes a day one in the morning and one in the evening plus a pound of grain(ewe developer)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I've been feeding two flakes a day one in the morning and one in the evening plus a pound of grain(ewe developer) that's per ewe
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Varies from 1.5 to 2.5 lbs. just trying to prevent having another prolapse like last year from feeding to much hay and had a vaginal prolapse and was able to keep her in and she lambed fine. Very stressful for the first time :))
 

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A handful of oats is all they need. Corn will make them fat. Also, while hay keeps them warm, grain does not. I also agree about the minerals, and make sure the minerals are safe for sheep- can’t feed horse and cattle minerals to them.
 

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I have been raising sheep for years and this is the first time I have heard this word (ewe developer).
 
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I feed only hay in winter. 3 times daily, sometimes a little more if they seem to really want it. I never have used grain. My ewes give me strapping lambs every year on an all grass diet with some mineral supplement. I raise Icelandic.

I don't think you can get away with all grass feed with some of the modern breeds.
 
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16 years of raising sheep, never had a ewe to prolapse. Flock size has ranged as high as 42 head, so we aren't a major sheep-producer. We've always fed hay free choice, and we have enough pasture stockpiled that they can always root around under any snow and find some grass. I don't understand limiting hay, because how can you limit their grass on pasture? The only grain-based feed they get is before breeding and after lambing. It is a coarse feed, kinda like a horse-feed. It's only fed in the evenings, when they have plenty of grass or hay in their belly. Being ruminants and designed to live by grazing, concentrated starch (corn, wheat, etc) will cause rumen acidosis. This can be a problem in high-producing dairy cows, to the point that some dairies keep a tub of baking soda near their mineral feeder to help counteract the acidity. Did you ever eat too many donuts and get heartburn? Same thing, except it affects cow, sheep, and goat hoofs. Since we cut out most all grain, their is almost no foot trimming. Of the 12 ewes in the field now, 11 have never needed foot care The exception is one sneaky girl who will gobble up the dog's food at any chance.

This was a whole lot to say that most ruminants can't eat enough hay to get obese. Prolapses are due to weak muscles in the perineal area. Back in our market-lamb showing days, we saw a lot of prolapse (mostly rectal) because of the tails being docked all the way up against the rump (not leaving a short stub) and the highly amount of feed they were eating. Since we went to hair sheep and long tails, it has never shown up again. Additionally, the girl usually drop twins or triples, and their choice of doing it inside or on pasture.

This is just what works for us, and hope you find what works for y'all.
 
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