Feeding Lambs

skeleroo

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I am completely new to sheep. I've recently acquired three lambs (a 5month ewe, a 4month ramb, and a 2week ewe).

The two older ones have full access to hay and a pasture for grazing. They LOVE the TSC sheep feed and come running for it, but I'm afraid of over feeding them. How often should I give them pellets and how much?
 

Girlies' Mum

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Hard to advise not knowing what pasture you have. We give about 400g sheep feed/sheep/day if necessary in the winter in the UK when there is no grass growing at all, as a supplement to hay /silage but you may never have this situation in Fla. Sheep adore sheep feed concentrate and will eat themselves stupid on it given the chance.
One thing is sure - do not give them sheep concentrate over and above other roughage (grass/hay) or it alters the rumen acidity and they can get a thing called rumenal acidosis which leads to too much acid in the blood and they can die.
Very sensible to ask - when I was a beginner I ran out of hay so fed them pure sheep feed, thinking how kind I was, and after 2 days they all got rumenal acidosis, mildly I am glad to say, (only panting) and vet told me on the phone what my mistake was and it was caught before they needed emergency treatment. Easy to do if you don't know.
If they have enough grass, keep it as a treat or for training them to come to you.
 

Girlies' Mum

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Thinking it through, if you are giving them pasture and unlimited amounts of hay (and a mineral lick), I don't see why they need sheep feed at all, unless they are looking thin. (The mineral lick must be for sheep specifically as licks for other animals may have too much of the wrong minerals such as copper.)

My little darlings just have good hay and very poor grass (and a mineral lick) at this time of year (when the grass is growing they just have that/lick) - and of course their treat of about half a small handful of sheep feed a day each, which they squabble over! They get too fat otherwise as they are not in lamb.

I can still remember not knowing what to do in your position, but this forum is so helpful and with so much experience , I am sure it is ok to say just ask away.....
 

Baymule

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I give a coffee can of feed once a day for 8 sheep, not much for any of them. They will come when I call and love the sight of that red feed can. This is good if they should ever get out, they will run back to you. Since some of my pastures are not connected, I open the gate of the pasture I want them in, shake a feed can and pour some out for them. By this time they are screaming to be let out and I open their gate. They run and beat me to the pasture I want them in. In the evening, rinse-repeat.
 

Girlies' Mum

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Same for me - I have a crinkly plastic bag - which I put their sheep feed in each day and they come running. Also small blue buckets are the norm for feeds round here on the farms but I swear it is genetically imprinted that all Scottish sheep respond to blue buckets, taught or not!
 

Sasmith

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Out of curiosity if a pregnant ewe were on drylot with no access to pasture anybody have an idea of how much alfalfa or peanut or whatever it would take to meet her daily protein needs?
 

Latestarter

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A lot will depend on the quality of the hay you're providing. I've always been of the impression that you should leave hay for them 24/7. They'll eat what they need. Then supplement that with pellets or grain as required...

@Sheepshape @mysunwolf @Baymule @Mike CHS @secuono @Roving Jacobs There are of course many other Sheeple out here that may have input.
 

Sheepshape

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My lambs don't come until mid-March and beyond. They have access to hay/silage throughout the day (given to mum primarily), access to pasture (very poor at this time, but growing nicely by end of March) and mum's milk. I don't specifically give the lambs any other feed unless trying to get older lambs fattened for market. If the pasture was particularly poor, then lamb pellets (in a lamb creep feeder with holes too small for the ewes' muzzles) would be added.

With ewes, I feed them with 'breeding ewe nuts' from 4 weeks before the first is due to 6 weeks after they have lambed. Ewes expecting singletons get 0.5 lbs in the first week and that rises to 1lb up until they give birth and then they continue on 1lb for the first 6 weeks of lactation, given as 2 feeds. Ewes expecting 2 or more lambs get 0.5 lbs week 1. 1lb week 2 and 1.5 lbs from 2 weeks before lambing tip 6 weeks after giving birth, again in 2 daily 'doses'. Lambs beyond about 4 weeks old often come down to the troughs and eat pellets with mum.
 
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Baymule

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I give my sheep a good bermuda grass hay, mineral and a little pellet feed. They get a 1200-1500 pound round bale once a month. I have 8 sheep, 3 with lambs and 1 due to lamb. Somewhere I read that alfalfa is a little too rich for sheep and can get their calcium off balance. Since we don't have much alfalfa around here, I really didn't pay much attention. Mine are basically on dry lot as we are trying to get pasture established and have to keep them off until spring.

The sheep don't like the stemmy parts, so I pull them off the bale and put in their shelter for bedding.
 

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