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Proper Nutrition for adult sheep - Sheep & Goats [Skip to Content]
Illinois Livestock Trail by UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION


Sheep & Goats
Illinois Livestock Trail

Sheep & Goats > Feeding & Nutrition

QUESTION
I have 8 adult sheep - 3 Cheviot, 3 barbados and 2 southdown babydolls (one is a ram) - all except babydolls are rescues. I have been feeding 1 flake of good quality hay in am and 1 flake of alfalfa hay in evening. They are all - shall we say - plump - in winter here there is really nothing to graze on in our pasture (3 acres) - at least nothing they want. Should I be supplementing with a grain of some sort and am I feeding enough. They always seem hungry! I also give carrots and cracked corn mixture as treats. I also have mineral blocks out but am told that loose minerals may be better.


ANSWER

I suggest you weigh a number of the flakes of hay you are feeding to get an average weight so you know how much you are actually feeding. You can do this on a baby scale or a bathroom scale. Then feed the sheep enough so they are getting 4-5 pounds per head per day. You should observe how much of the hay the animals eat as they should clean all this up. If not, cut back on the amount of hay. The plumpness you see may just be large bellies and not fat over the ribs of the animals which is where they need to be check for body fat. Mineral blocks are OK but loose may be better as they are less apt to damage their teeth. Just make sure you are feeding a mineral formulated for sheep. Sheep have a zero tolerance for Copper and minerals for other species contain Copper with can kill a sheep. If you have a ram you should have babies at some time. As that time approaches start increasing the amount of hay and begin feeding concentrates to the flock.., Start with half a pound and ncrease it to a pound as they get closer to lambing. After lambing, feed fre choice hay and 1 1/2 pouind of concentrates.







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