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Making your own grain mixture for sheep.

Sheep make excellent use of high-quality roughage stored either as hay or low-moisture, grass-legume silage or occasionally chopped green feed. Good-quality hay or stored forage is a highly productive feed; poor-quality forage, no matter how much is available, is suitable only for maintenance. In general, the same factors influence the quality of silage. Complete analysis of cut-stored forages enhances the utilization of these feedstuffs and allows for the most efficient use of supplemental grains and minerals.

The period from weaning to breeding of ewes is critical if a high twinning rate is desired. Ewes should not be allowed to become excessively fat but should make daily gains from weaning to breeding. If pasture production is inadequate, ewes may be confined and fed high-quality hay and a small amount of grain if necessary.

Breeding while grazing legume pastures eg, sage, white clovers may tend to depress the size of the lamb crop, lowering the intake of certain feedstuffs. After mating, ewes can be maintained on pasture, thus allowing feed to be conserved for other times of the year. Good pasture for this period allows the ewes to enter the winter feeding period in good condition. When pasture is unavailable, an appropriate ration should be formulated see Table: Rations for Pregnant Ewes up to 6 Wk Before Lambing.

During the last 6—8 wk of pregnancy, growth of the fetus is rapid. This is a critical period nutritionally, particularly for ewes carrying more than one fetus. Beginning 6—8 wk before lambing, the plane of nutrition should be increased gradually and continued without interruption until after lambing. The amount offered depends on the condition or fat covering of the ewes and quality of the forage.

HUGE FEED SAVINGS! Small Scale Feed Mixing at Home!

If ewes are in fair to good condition, 0. The roughage content of the ration should provide all the protein required for all nonlactating ewes. If necessary, the ewes may be classified according to age, condition, and number of fetuses and divided into groups for different treatment. Ration No. Succulent pasture furnishes adequate energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals for ewes and lambs; no added grain is necessary.

When pasture is not being used confinement rearingewes should be fed one of the rations outlined for pregnant ewes in Rations for Pregnant Ewes up to 6 Wk Before Lambingand 1—1. Ewes should have access to a mixture of trace mineralized salt and dicalcium phosphate. Under confinement rearing or accelerated lambing, lambs are commonly weaned at 2 mo of age. Mixture No. Where pasture is limited, they should be creep-fed for 1—2 mo until adequate forages are available. If pasture will not be available until the lambs are 3—4 mo old, they can be finished in a dry lot.

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The grain used should be ground coarse or rolled, but as the feeding period progresses, whole grains may be used. The amount of grain is increased gradually until the lambs are on full feed. Feeding lambs from birth to market in a dry lot, together with early weaning at 2—3 mo of age, has become more popular throughout the USA.

See table: Creep Rations for Suckling and Early-weaned Lambs for examples of creep rations used in dry lot feeding.

Orphaned lambs, extras, triplets, or those from poor-milking ewes can be raised on milk replacers to improve productivity.

If ewe colostrum is unavailable, a frozen, pooled supply from several cows can be used. Under certain conditions, it may be advisable to inject orphaned lambs with vitamins A, D, and E and selenium. In handrearing systems, ewe milk replacers are preferable; however, good quality replacers designed for calves may be fed to lambs.Feed represents the single largest cost in all types of sheep production.

Climate and exercise can also have an effect on nutritional requirements. A wide variety of feedstuffs can meet the nutritional needs of ewes during their different production stages.

There is no one perfect feeding program. The choice of feeding program will depend upon geographic region, when lambs are born, and the cost and availability of feedstuffs. Flushing Feeding the ewe so she is gaining weight about 2 weeks before breeding is called flushing. Flushing may increase lambing percentage by increasing the number of eggs that the ewes ovulate. Flushing works best on thin ewes. Ewes that are already in good body condition usually do not respond well to flushing.

Flushing has more effect early in the breeding season. Flushing may also be beneficial late in the breeding season. Mature ewes respond better to flushing than yearlings. You can flush ewes by feeding them 0. If flushing is continued through the breeding season, it may enhance embryo survival during early pregnancy. Plant estrogens Ewes should not be bred on pastures that contain a high percentage of legumes.

Clovers especially red cloveralfalfa, and birdsfoot trefoil may delay estrus. Fescue grasses, as well as barley grain and oat grain also contain compounds with estrogenic activity. Estrogenic compounds are present in varying concentrations in most all legume plants during the entire growing season, though not when the plants are mature and dry. Placental size or weight affects nutrient transfer between the ewe and the her fetuses. Underdeveloped placentas result in lower birth weights regardless of late gestation nutrition.

Twenty-one 21 days of severe underfeeding or 80 days of moderate underfeeding can affect placental development. Knowing how much to feed ewes during late gestation can be difficult because it depends upon the number of fetuses the ewe is carrying.

Underfeeding will result in the birth of small lambs. Small lambs are less resistant to cold stress and will have slower pre-weaning growth. Underfeeding will reduce the yield and quality of milk. Big lambs increase lambing problems and have a higher mortality rate. The nutrients that are important during late gestation are energy, protein, calcium, selenium, and vitamin E. The amount of energy required depends upon the number of fetuses and cold stress.

Winter lambing ewes usually cannot consume enough forage to meet their energy needs. More energy is required two weeks before lambing versus six weeks before lambing. Ewes carrying singles do not need to receive grain as early as those carrying multiple births. Pregnancy toxemia Pregnancy toxemia or ketosis is the most common nutritional disorder that occurs during late gestation.

It is caused by an inadequate intake of energy during late gestation, as fetuses make 70 percent of their growth. As the ewe breaks down her body fat to meet her increasing nutritional needs, toxic ketone bodies are produced.

Sheep Feed Rations

The ewes that are most prone to pregnancy toxemia are fat ewes, thin ewes, old ewes, timid ewes, and ewes carrying multiple births. Treatment is to increase the blood glucose level. In advanced cases, a caesarian section may be necessary. Milk fever Milk fever is different in sheep as compared to dairy cattle in that symptoms occur pre-lambing.

Milk fever is low blood calcium. It is caused by either inadequate intake of calcium or the inability to mobilize calcium reserves.Forums New posts Search forums.

Feeding Ewes

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sheep feed rations

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For a better experience, please enable JavaScript in your browser before proceeding. Making your own grain mixture for sheep. Thread starter Royalhaven Start date Feb 26, Royalhaven Just born. Joined Feb 26, Messages 2 Reaction score 0 Points 7.

I am interested in mixing my own whole grain mixture for my pet sheep. I'm wondering if any of you are doing this? I would like to keep it as 'whole', 'natural' and corn free as possible while making sure that I am meeting their nutritional needs.

They are all Shetland sheep and none are bred or will be bred. They are pets only. They do not have access to pasture, they eat hay all year round. Any tried and true recipes would be great! Just a waste of money.The lamb feedlotting industry in Australia is poised for considerable expansion on the back of strong export demand for lamb.

However, it has evolved to date with limited industry support and a scarcity of evidence based guidelines. Much of the country's sheep and grain growing regions are well placed to capitalise on feedlotting as they have ready access to lambs and feed as well as being climatically suitable.

sheep feed rations

Grain finishing involves financial risk, in particular lamb deaths, shy feeders and unexpected changes in market prices for lambs and feed. For this reason it is important that a budget be produced and a portion of the lambs be contracted to reduce the risks in an operation that on average offers only a small profit margin.

Feeding lambs in an intensive finishing system, such as a feedlot has rapidly become a specialised component of the prime lamb industry with the number of lambs being grain finished steadily increasing. This increase in intensive feeding can be mainly attributed to the export demand for a consistent supply of lambs that meet market specifications.

This is particularly so when quality pasture feed is unavailable or during drought conditions. Larger, more permanent feedlots are also emerging through alliances with breeders and processors. Some specialist breeders in high rainfall grazing areas see the opportunity to increase their gross margins by maximising stocking rates and selling store lambs to finishers.

Similarly, processors are purchasing lambs and forwarding them to contracted finishers thus giving them continuity of supply for a desirable product.

Lambs being finished to export weight in a feedlot. Identifying a market and its specifications is critical to establishing a program and making a profit. Stock agents, meat buyers or livestock consultants can assist with this task. Selling grain finished lambs through saleyards is risky because of price volatility. In general, purchasing light lambs to finish on grain and aiming to sell at trade weights below 40kg liveweight is not recommended because of the unlikelihood of securing forward contracts.

There is greater certainty in predicting the final value of lambs finished to heavy weights because of the availability of price grids and forward contracts.

These lock in a price for lambs delivered at a certain date to a set specification, thus providing some financial certainty for the feedlot operator. Some processors offer contracts several months in advance of the sale date. Engaging an active agent and building a strong relationship with the processor can be helpful.Jump to navigation Skip to Content. Supplementary feeding of sheep, with grain, hay or silage is necessary when pastures or stubbles are deficient in energy and protein.

A good supplementary feeding program will ensure sheep utilise as much dry paddock feed as possible as well as provide sufficient supplementary feed for maintenance or growth.

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The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development recommends supplementary or confined paddock feeding to maintain livestock productivity, and avoid animal welfare and soil erosion problems. In this case, the 'supplementary' feed becomes the full ration. Supplementary feeding aims to meet the nutritional requirements of different classes of sheep.

It is especially important to prevent excessive liveweight loss during the dry pasture phase in weaners and pregnant ewes. If you are growing sheep for meat production, seek professional advice regarding ration quality and the energy to protein ratios in the supplement.

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See the sheep feed value guide for more information on nutrient values of different feedstuffs. Watch the video below for an introduction to all aspects of feed budgeting. We recommend watching the video in YouTube to see the tables. Most values given for feed requirements are based on a medium-framed Merino of 50kg mature weight in good condition with no fleece. If sheep are of a different frame size or condition, their requirements will need to be adjusted.

The tables below are guides only. Lactation greatly increases energy requirements, and peaks at around 25 days after lambing. Ewe weaners to be mated as older lambs will need to gain as much weight as possible before conception.

Supplements for weaners should contain high energy and protein at levels to ensure growth can occur:. The Lifetimewool project website has some easy-to-use feed tables for the ewe flock.

During the dry phase, pasture quality does not give an accurate picture of how the sheep will perform. The only practical way to achieve your sheep production objectives using supplementary feeding during the dry is to regularly monitor your animals weighing or condition scoring to determine whether the feed is adequate for the targets you have set.

After the season has broken, sheep will choose to eat the available green pick in preference to the dry pasture. Use the supplementary feeding calculator to determine feeding rates required for ewes.

The type of supplement to use depends very much on the energy and protein requirements of the sheep, availability, cost and convenience. We recommend you test your supplements grain, hay or silage for quality. Metabolisable energy, protein and bulk density are all variable and important in determining accurate rations to satisfy production objectives maintenance or growth. Find out more about feed values of common feeds on feed values for sheep.

Feeding sheep for maintenance can be carried out in the paddock as a supplement to pastures or stubbles, or as a complete ration in the paddock or in a confined area. Rations are usually in the form of whole grain, hay, pellets or a mix of these feeds. When introducing a new feed to sheep, feed every day. After this introductory period, the ration can gradually be fed out less frequently see guidelines below.Feed is the single largest cost associated with raising small ruminants.

Sheep and goat producers should balance or evaluate feed rations to make sure they are meeting the nutritional requirements of their animals. Ration balancing can ensure optimal animal performance, prevent nutritional problems, and manage feed costs. There are two ways to balance feed rations: by hand using paper and pencil or with a computer with or without the Internet. Rations can be balanced manually using simple arithmetic. The Pearson Square and simultaneous algebraic equations are common methods of ration balancing.

Computers and the internet can make ration balancing easier. Tedious tasks are automated, arithmetic errors are eliminated, and the programs are preloaded with nutritional requirements and feed libraries. Several software options are available for sheep and goat producers. Programs vary in their cost, user interface, and features.

The Standard Edition for sheep Ewe and Feedyard balances rations for energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals using the substitution method. They also calculate cost of gain and feed cost per head per day. The Goat Nutrition Standard Edition Modules are designed for ration evaluation and manual formulation of growing and mature dairy, meat, and mohair goats.

The software utilizes the guidelines outlined in the National Research Council's publication The Nutrient Requirements of Small Ruminants as the primary basis for these guidelines. They will run on a PC or Mac. The ISU Sheep Feedlot Monitor Software is specialized to assist sheep feedlot managers with both detailed monitoring of animal performance along with business transactions involving the sheep feeding enterprise.

Both programs offer least-cost and analysis or evaluation options for ration balancing. Free demo versions of the software can be downloaded from the web site.

It uses the substitution method of ration balancing. Because its nutritional recommendations are based on the NRC requirements 6th Revised Editionone of the limitations of the MSU Sheep Ration Program, is that it does not allow you to balance rations for high producing ewes triplets or better or parlor-milked dairy ewes.

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The program is also not suitable for goats, unless you use sheep nutritional requirements. While you can add or edit feeds, you cannot add an animal or modify animal requirements. Feed specifications and rations are stored on the MSU server. The weight of goats can be predicted by inputting heart girth measurements and genotype.

The inputs from the Nutritional Calculator are transferred to the Ration Balancer for diet formulation. Diets can be balanced using the substitution method.

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SheepBytes Ration Balancer SheepBytes Ration Balancer is a Canadian, web-based application that is accessible from any computer that is connected to the internet. SheepBytes runs on a web browser.

Netscape and Chrome are recommended for optimal performance.Quad lamb grazing. Spring vegetation. South Dakota range. Red clover White clover. Plenty of grass to eat. Hydroponic fodder. Hay Auction. Lambs eating hay Ewes eating alfalfa hay. Ewes eating grass hay. Young lamb eating haylage.

Eating creep feed.

Sheep Feed Rations

Drinking liquid molasses. Wet feed. Six kinds of grain Image by Cindy Mason. Corn and protein pellet. Whole cottonseed. Soybean hulls. Pineapple cannery waste. Range cubes Lambs eating mineral.

sheep feed rations

Eating grain. Grain bin Lick tub Mineral feeder. Salt lick. Tropical forages. Definition of feedstuff - any of the constituent nutrients of an animal ration. While forages are the most "natural" diet for sheep and lambs and often the most economical, a sheep's nutritional requirements can be met by feeding a variety of feedstuffs.

The rumen is an adaptable organ. It can easily adapt to different feeding programs, so long as it is given ample time to adjust. Feedstuffs can substitute for one another so long as the sheep's nutritional requirements are being met, nutritional imbalances are not created, and the health of the rumen is not compromised.

Feeding programs should take into account animal requirements, feedstuff availability, costs of nutrients, and labor. Pasture, forbs, and browse Pasture, range, forbs, and browse are usually the primary and most economical source of nutrients for sheep and lambs, and in many cases, all that sheep need to meet their nutritional requirements. For example, from the time a ewe weans her lambs through her first 15 weeks of pregnancy, forage will likely meet all her nutritional needs.

Pasture is high in energy, protein, and palatability when it is in a vegetative state. However, it can have a high moisture content when it is rapidly growing, and sometimes it can be difficult for high-producing animals to eat enough "wet" forage to meet their nutrient requirements.