Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,937 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I know this is a "how long is a piece of string" type question but if I had 6 or 7 sheep and something happened like a drought or something that left you with no grazing, how much hay would those sheep eat in a year?

This latest F&M outbreak has left me re-thinking what animals I am getting. The extra land I have earmarked for some sheep is away from my "secure" land. If the F&M seems to spread,then all my animals will be kept within that land where I know there is no contact with anything from outside. It's not watertight but it is the best I can do. It occured to me that if I had sheep, then they would need somewhere to be secure for a potentially lengthy time, and I would also need hay to keep them on.

has anyone thought this one through. How much hay would a bunch of sheep eat?

Thanks in advance

hoggie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
481 Posts
It would depend on the hay quality and size of sheep - but if you are just talking meadow/native grass hay, I would allot 4-6lbs per adult per day. I think that is on the high end, but I tend to get paranoid about running out and you'll want to consider waste, etc.

You can also arrange your pastures so you can rotate heavily (break out into 3 acre pastures) that way you would have some 'stored grass' still available. There are many books available - I like Allan Nation's references for 'usability'.

We have an ongoing drought situation right now, and I'm starting to see it's effect - we are severely understocked so that helps, but we are initiating an intensive rotation to save what grass is available so we don't have to feed hay in the winter.

Good luck! Always helps to have hay in storage. It tends to keep well, even over the course of a couple years if stored correctly :)

Andrea
www.arare-breed.net
www.faintinggoat.net
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,937 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks - if/when I get the sheep I will probably go with Jacobs. Hay quality - generally mixed meadow hay.

Because we are an island, I like to be over-supplied with feedstuffs for all my animals. hay has become an issue now as last year my hay didn't get cut. This spring for the first time ever, I ran out and have been scraping around. Last week, there was officially NO hay on the island. A couple of people had a few bales left in their sheds but I had none and there was none available to buy. Even my next door neighbout the dairy farm had absolutely none.

Now it looks like I am going to be under supplied for hay AGAIN this year. I will have enough for the animals I have but the sheep I was hoping to get this Autumn are going to have to be put on hold I think. I hav emasses of grazing for them but I don't like to go ahead until I know I have hay as well.

hoggie
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,158 Posts
I just budget 5 pounds per critter per day for winter feeding. Type and quality matter, but I grow mostly mixed grasses. Some eat more some less, it seems to work out. So a 40 lb small square bale per day is plenty for 7 sheep. 1000 bales would see you through three years with care and a good mineral/vitamin mix, plus salt. That's not raising any lambs though and I'd want grain too, just to be sure. Say a quarter pound each per day over a year. Round up to 2 pounds per day, or something like half a ton per year. Just some rough guestimating if you get into the planning you have to count new lambs and know the feed you have is high quality, knowing it'll lose quality every month.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top