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I just picked up 10 bred for mid march ewes.I really need to put some weight on them as they are very thin.The grass hay I have is very low grade and am looking for a grain type ration to supplement it .Any one have any advise?
 

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I usually feed a sweet COB or 4-way mix. It's corn, oats and barley with molasses. It has a low protein level around 8 to 10%. I would think any general sheep feed would be fine. Just make sure it for sheep all other feed for cattle, horse and goats will have to much copper. You don't want to up the feed to fast or get them to fat. G&S
 

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Have you wormed the ewes since you got them home? Steam rolled barley or corn would be good if you don't have access to alfalfa. We start feeding alfalfa one feeding per day right before the girls lamb and continue for about 3 weeks, then the pasture is in by then. Seems to keep them milking hard and not compromising their body scores too badly. Minerals would be important too, free choice.

Hey, I'm new here, is there an intro forum? I feel silly just posting away right off, but gotta start somewhere and the sheep forum will be my favorite place, I'm sure!
 

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Check for parasites, and give them a little bit of oats. If they aren't used to grain, you have to start them out slow. A handful per ewe. In fact, you may never need to give them more than a handful. Also keep in mind that grain doesn't keep them warm, hay keeps them warm (the biological action of breaking down the hay in the gut). And, give them water that is just a little warm.
 

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Hi WA sheep gal...no wading pool around here - jumping right in is just fine!:)

Definately have a fecal done by the vet before you worm - and don't overlook parasites. Not all wormers can be used during pregnancy. Worming during preganncy if it isn't needed is borrowing trouble - Also, expect to worm just after delivery, where there is typically a bloom in parasites...

Whether or not to use grain rations is also breed specific - what kind of sheep are you feeding? Have they been eating grain up until now? Any dietary changes you make should be very gradual - you have babies on board and you want to avoid bloat.

If you are going to be shopping for a supplement, I would be shopping for quality hay to add in...nutrition is most important right now! You can always try to pack some weight on after the babies are born - adding too much weight in the last trimester just makes big babies and lambing complications IMO. Grain is often protein and calories, without some of the essentials that are in hay (fiber for one, protein, and then good vitamins) unless it is a complete sheep feed...and I would also get a good sheep mineral. If they haven't been given minerals up until now, and you are in an area that is selenium deficient, a dose of Se-E-A& D gel might be a good idea, on top of their loose minerals that are offered free choice. I spoil my girls this time of year with a pressed protein mineral block.

Bottom line though - if they are new to you, pregnant and thin, a vet's opinion might be a good thing to have.

Congratulations on your new acquisitions! Wish you the best! Happy lambing!
 

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HI JTM.
You are in Iowa, not far from me.
This happened to me too. Best thing to do to put on weight fast is corn, soy crumbles/meal mixed with a little molasses. You can buy it all separately, whole corn, bags of bean meal and molasses cheaply from any elevator and mix it yourself. This feed is cheap to buy premixed by your elevator in a thousand pound batch if you have something to put that much feed in. Mix it at about 20%. Work your way up to a pound a day per ewe in ten percent increments. This puts the wight on fast! Get alfalfa mixed hay if possible and provide minerals- especially calcium which alfalfa has a lot of at this juncture or you could have troubles lambing.

PLenty of ewes have choked inhaling straight oats and I have never found any barley around. Just go with what you grow around you: corn and soybean meal. This is what your elevator will have plenty of. And I would hurry to it and then continue feeding for at least 8 weeks after they lamb to insure their good health.

It takes 1-2 weeks to see a body condition score rise 1/2 a point. You are going to need every day until lambing to get them somewhere near in good shape and then continued feeding.

kirsten
 

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Whether or not to use grain rations is also breed specific - what kind of sheep are you feeding?
I didn't know that grain use was breed specific! What would you say for Pelibuey and Barbados? I have a couple that I bought recently that are a little thin also.

I have a little "grain" feed my husband mixed together as they don't sell sheep feed here. Cracked corn, crushed peanut leftovers, sorghum, wheat.
 

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I didn't know that grain use was breed specific! What would you say for Pelibuey and Barbados? I have a couple that I bought recently that are a little thin also.

I have a little "grain" feed my husband mixed together as they don't sell sheep feed here. Cracked corn, crushed peanut leftovers, sorghum, wheat.

I don't know about breed specific, but I do know that feeding corn will cause a yellow streak in your wool, so if you're looking for quality wool sales, you might go easy on the corn....
 

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I don't know about breed specific, but I do know that feeding corn will cause a yellow streak in your wool, so if you're looking for quality wool sales, you might go easy on the corn....
I have hair sheep....no need to worry about yellow wool! :zzz::cowboy:
 

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It sort of sounds like you guys are making things up.
I would like to hear more about breed specific feed and yellow streaks in wool.
Some breeds may take grains better than others but breed specific grains...
I think that we should endeavor to keep things simple.
The point is: this person has very thin sheep who have to lamb pretty soon in bad condition and if they don't get into a good condition, they are going to have a miserable lambing with weak, unthrifty lambs and maybe worse. Perhaps we should try to make them all live before we confuse their owner so much they don't know what to do. Everything else can come later.

I really hate to think that this person might post here later having a terrible lambing because they couldn't decide what to feed their sheep because we raised doubts everywhere for them.
We don't know the posters, what kind of people they are, their personalities- some of them might get lost in all the advice and the sheep might suffer for it and in the end we lose another shepherd because they had bad experiences. Some people do not act quickly. I am usually the opposite. I act and THEN I get feedback on my course of action here. Other people may not do anything until they feel they have it all figured out and totally understand everything. We are all just different people but we should not underestimate the novice shepherd, if this person is indeed a relatively new shepherd. I don't know.

These are only my opinions but I know that it takes time to flesh out a ewe and how unpleasant it is to see that and worse, to know they are lambing in a couple months or less. There is no time at all to waste.
 

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The easiest thing to do if you need a basic grain mix- find some Kent Country Blend. It's an all-purpose sweet feed. It comes in a 50# bag and you should be able to get it locally.

Start by giving them a soup can of mix the first few days, then work up to something like a 28oz tomato can (I think it's a #10 size can?).

That should help them gain some weight.

Also- I like to use ProBios on animals that are stressed, as well as Bluelite in the water.
 

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I agree that it's best to get a bit of meat on the ewes for lamb health. Plus, the lambs are gaining a lot more in the last weeks before lambing and need brown fat on them for early survival and the ewe needs calories to make this happen. Still, if they are wormy they can't absorb the nutrition properly so grab some fresh feces from a couple of different ewes, throw in a ziploc bag and take it to your vet for a fecal egg count. It's an inexpensive test. Then your vet can prescribe which wormer you can safely use and if you need to. If they aren't wormy, they apparently are just not getting enough nutrition. The vet can provide some help here too, I would hope.
 
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