purplequeenvt

True BYH Addict
Joined
Aug 1, 2011
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
1,879
Points
283
Location
Rineyville, KY
I'd lock them up without any hay at night. When I was locking my flock up at night, the only group that I kept with feed in front of them 24/7 was the lambs. They were on grass during the day and hay free-choice hay at night.

Babydolls are notorious for getting fat on air. Are your ewes pets-only or do you breed them? If they are only pets, they really don't need 2nd cut hay. You'll keep them in better condition if you feed 1st cut instead.
 

Ridgetop

Herd Master
Joined
Mar 13, 2015
Messages
2,124
Reaction score
5,571
Points
393
Location
Shadow Hills, CA
I thought I answered this but must have gotten called away. You don't need to feed pasture and hay both. If the pasture is good, it will support them unless it is buried in snow. If the pasture is dry forage, it will also support them. You need to check their body condition with your hands through the wool. There are good articles on line about sheep body condition scores. If the ram s too heavy he will not be interested in breeding and if the ewes are too heavy they may not settle, or may have trouble lambing. If you plan to breed them that is very important information since many people who think they are feeding properly are actually feeding way too much with the result that their lambing percentages are very disappointing. Your feeding and nutrition regimen also depends on the breed and size of your sheep.

Instead of giving them a hay feed to come in at night, just give half a handful of oats in the feeder. Oats don't put on fat or weight. When our hogs gained too much for fair and we worried that they would go overweight, we would cut their feed with oats to hold them and keep them from gaining. Oats puts on hard muscle too. Do not get any expensive sheep feed, you don't need it. Just get a bag of oats, either whole or rolled and give half a cup each at night to bring them in from the pasture. Keep an eye on them and this winter when they have lost their extra weight, you can start feeding winter BUT not too much. 2 full flakes (our flakes average 10+ lbs. each) for 3 Babydoll Southdowns is still too much. They should get a certain percentage of hay per lb. of body weight. Check on line for feeding guides and you will find charts telling you how many lbs. of hay to feed per hay variety, i.e. alfalfa, timothy, grass, etc. I think 1 flake for 3 Babydolls may still be too much. My Dorper ewes weigh 130-150 lbs. and I feed 1 flake alfalfa per 3 ewes when the forage is gone until they are lactating or heavily pregnant. Then I either increase their hay or add some rolled barleycorn. I adjust the feed ratio based on their body condition. All my ewes right now are between 3.0 and 4.0 condition. Some are obviously a bit too heavy but they are all on forage with a little hay to bring them in at night. I am afraid to cut back their night feeding since several ewes are due to lamb any day now. We are only feeding 2 flakes at night for 9 ewes and 1 ram since we still have dry forage on the field, but I probably should cut them to 1 flake just to bring them in. We lock them up at night because even with 3 Anatolian LGDs our predator load is intense.
 

Ridgetop

Herd Master
Joined
Mar 13, 2015
Messages
2,124
Reaction score
5,571
Points
393
Location
Shadow Hills, CA
On rereading this, I see that they are 3 years old so you probably won't be breeding the ewes. You are feeding way too much and as they get older that much fat on them will have bad effects.. The time to increase feed is when they are about 8 or 9 years old IF THEY LOVE WEIGHT, not when they are young. If they don't lose weight at 8 or 9 years old, no need to increase feed then either. How much should they weigh? Not how much no, but what is the correct weight for a Babydoll? That is what they should be getting and no more. Since they are on pasture and yo want them to lost weight faster, you can try letting the out later. When the daylight changes you will have to bring the inearlier anyway, so just let them out later for now with no additional feed.
 

The Old Ram-Australia

True BYH Addict
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
753
Reaction score
1,170
Points
263
G'day, you have received some very good advice from the group. I addressed this problem in an ongoing discussion over at "A new direction for the old ram" on page 67 ,Aug 4. it is due for an update which i will do later.The key is forcing the sheep into exercise and how do you do that? You cease all extra feed ,you make them walk (check feet first and see if they need a trim).Make them walk to get a drink,never have feed and water together.It will take some time if you have let them get to a state where the problem is obvious.Check their body score,search "body score for sheep" and learn and understand how it works...T.O.R.
 

Latest posts

Top