What kind of feed do you use?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by RandB, May 29, 2006.

  1. RandB

    RandB Well-Known Member

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    We give our sheep some grain every day, as was recommended by our vet. We have been using Purina goat & sheep 18% feed, as that is what our feed dealer carries. It is getting very expensive, almost $10 a bag. For those of you who use feed, what do you use? The only other national brand feed available in our area is Agway, I haven't checked their prices yet. Can sheep be fed straight oats or corn or something like that?
     
  2. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

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    Depending on what breed of sheep you raise, they might lose condition. I think the commercial meat show sheep might need special fancy rations to be in "just right" for show.
    The only grain we ever feed is shell corn and oats. Occasionally will add soy bean husk when available. The only time we feed grain is through the last month of gestation, and 6-8 weeks into lactation.
    I would never, ever feed any pelleted or processed stuff. Too many chemicals and ingredients I can't pronounce. Plus, I've heard of mix-ups at some of the processing plants, where copper is accidentally mixed into the sheep feed, resulting in dead sheep.
     

  3. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    This year we fed whole corn and oats 50-50 adding 40% raw bean and 60% roasted soybean or micronized bean 1:5 with the blended corn oats. We just mix it several + pails at a time as needed.
     
  4. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    We feed barley and Corn, we mix 2 bags of whole barley to 2 bags of cracked corn or corn fines. These bags are 44kg bags.

    Ross in your area is Oats cheaper than Barley?

    Melissa
     
  5. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We feed the following mix we have made in ton quantities. My neighbor and I split it and I feed it to my cows, sheep and chickens.

    455 lbs cracked corn
    400 lbs crimped oats
    200 lbs cracked wheat (vitamin A and Selenium)
    400 lbs soybean meal
    400 lbs alfalfa pellets
    25 lbs granular sheep minerals
    12 lbs ammonium chloride
    8 oz Bovatec
    110 lbs molassas

    The above mix runs 18%+ crude protein and 14.5% digestable protein.

    All the animals love it, and they do super on it. The last ton cost us $270.00. That means a 50 lb bag costs approx $6.75 US.
     
  6. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Oats were cheaper this year Melissa, other years barley is.
     
  7. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    Thanks Ross,

    In our area Barley is cheaper, I was just wondering.

    Melissa
     
  8. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    Our sheep are on pasture only, hay in the winter. They are fat and healthy. I think if you have enough pasture that feed is a waste of money. If you don't, that's another story.
    When we feed something occaisionally to teach the animals to come when called, we use alfalfa cubes or pellets.
     
  9. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    So we can assume you don't feed for 210 days a year?
     
  10. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

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    Managing a flock's nutritional needs vary based on many things..
    Variables include breed type, stage of production - depending on the time of year and age of animal, the number of lambs being raised by ewes, whether the breeding animals are lambs, available feed in area and weather conditions, among others not listed here.
    What works for one flock doesn't necessarily work for another and just because it works for the flock one year doesn't mean it will be the same the next year.
    Feeding requirements may even be different within the same flock, i.e. our Friesian cross ewes require grain, especially those feeding triplets or quads, whereas our Lincolns get fat just looking at grass (easy keepers)....this also changes from year to year depending on the quality of hay we are able to get.
     
  11. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    Huh?
     
  12. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    I realize that. Let me explain a little.
    For the last several years we have been transitioning to animals (cows, goats, pigs, now sheep) who are able to do well on forage/hay alone (we cut our own hay so are somewhat able to control the quality) and don't take a ton of maintenance.
    We got rid of a beautiful herd of Boer goats because of the high maintenance required. We now have Kiko crosses.
    We won't buy another Jersey cow, we have a herd of mixed beef cows and a herd of Dexters. And 2 left-over Jerseys, one of which is no problem, one of which is a problem when she freshens, but she's been here a long time and will adopt as many calves as we'll give her so she gets to stay.
    The sheep we've only had for 3 years. They're hair sheep crosses. So far they've done great on forage/hay alone. They're fat and have good babies who grow fast and sell well.
    For us life is just much simpler this way.
     
  13. linda in se ny

    linda in se ny Well-Known Member

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    The only solution we've found is ordering feed in bulk. We have an old dairy barn with a grain room and a chute to the lower level. The drawbacks are a 2 ton minimum order and keeping the rodent population down,but it's about 1/2 the price of buying by the bag.
     
  14. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

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    We feed pasture or grass hay alone, and a small amount of cob just during the last 2 months of gestation. Our ram is FAT on this diet, since he's not got the extra effort of raising lambs like the ewes do. We try to sort him off from the pregnant ewes during the time we feed grain because he just does not need any! This year, our lambs were so fat, we only did hay in their creep feeder, no grain!

    Possibly though, it depends on the breed? Our cheviots are very easy keepers.
     
  15. heritagefarmer

    heritagefarmer Belties are Best!

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    We have two x-bred (black) ewes that give us twins every year for eating. We also have a small flock of rare horned dorsets that belong to Rare Breeds Canada.
    In winter they are housed and get ad-lib hay (our own) and roots- home grown carrots and turnips twice a day. They are fed same as the cattle and pony except smaller quantities and their own minerals.
    For 6 months they are turned out (16 sheep/lambs on 4 acres) and are fed nothing beside mineral/salt licks.
    They are sheared in March before turnout as we believe that makes them find shelter with the lambs when they wouldn't normally.
    We lamb in Feb/March when they are inside anyway.
    My neighbor lambs in May, which means keeping them in another month after you would have turned them out (after being in 6 mths already- to me that doesn't make sense-why not lamb in April?)
    Only grain fed is a few weeks before the ram goes in, in the fall (this is supposed to encourage twins- and something is working for us) and then a few weeks before lambing.
    Our lambs are ready for the butcher in July, aged 5 months