How much hay

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by MaKettle, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    will I need to winter my 5 black welsh mountain sheep? It's my first year for sheep. It has been so hot and dry that we got a poor second cutting, and will not get a third cutting. Neighbor who cuts the hay gets 1st and 3rd cuttings. I have about 50 bales of good hay (about 50 # each), and 10 bales of 3 year old hay. Usually get about 100 bales, and that has always been more than enough to feed and bed whatever livestock we have, and mulch the garden as well. You can see the harvest is really poor. Have been going through sheep books from the library, and have so far not found a formula. Figure I'll need to buy some, and want more than enough to be safe and to feed in the spring until the grass reestablishes. That would be about 6 months. Can anyone offer an estimate?
  2. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

    Jul 22, 2002
    Missouri Ozarks
    I always figure five pounds of hay per head of sheep, times the number of days you plan to feed. I always figure it high in case we have a harsh winter and then I can feed more. This formula has always worked well for me with around a hundred Dorper and Katahdin mouths to feed. I always have some left over, but not lots.

  3. len

    len Well-Known Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    central Ontario
    Ma, I think Sue's guidelines are good.

    My rule of thumb is 20 bales per ewe. A feeder of some sort, doesn't need to be fancy, which keeps the hay off the ground will reduce waste.

    Will they be bred? A daily ration of grain for two weeks before breeding and four weeks after breeding will help conception rates. Also daily grain for the last six weeks of gestation when the lambs make rapid growth. Then of course more daily grain during lactation. :) Oh, and creep feed for the lambs. :)

    Free choice salt and sheep mineral too.

  4. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    Washington State
    My sheep must not eat much. I put a couple of flakes in with 5 of them and half has been left over the next morning. When I wasn't feeling well earlier this spring we put a bale in the barn...took them all week to eat it. I really haven't got much pasture, either, but it must seem more alluring to them than hay!
  5. Siryet

    Siryet In Remembrance

    Jun 29, 2002
    River Valley, Arkansas
    Is it possible to use straw for bedding thus saving hay for feed only?
  6. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 6, 2004
    Michigan's thumb
    This past winter I fed one bale of grass hay per day (the small rectangle bales) to two miniature donkeys, three medium sized sheep, and three BWM ewes. Four of the ewes were pregnant. They also got a one gallon bucket of oats and corn per day. Your BWM will eat less than other sheep because of size and thriftiness.