Feeding routine

jambi1214

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Just wanted to see what some of y'all's feeding routines for sheep are. I know things vary throughout the year but find myself doing lots of extra work. Is it best to feed once or twice daily if doing grain? I've been offering loose mineral but only put a small amount out daily because they seem to want to eat too much ?! Sometimes it's in bowls with some grain. Good portion of year I don't feed grain at all. Loose hay at all times. Pickier sheep get chaffaye alfalfa usually once daily when pasture lower/winter. But maybe there's any easier routine? Thanks for sharing.
 

purplequeenvt

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I feed once a day, in the morning. I work 2nd shift and don’t get home until after 11pm so there’s no feasible way for me to feed twice. I make sure there’s enough feeder space to hold more than enough hay 24hrs.

During the summer the sheep are out 24/7 on grass with free choice mineral salts.

Winter is a little more complicated as they are all in the barn and I’m feeding hay. They have hay in front of them at all times, but the ewes are usually only grained during breeding season and lambing. I’ve built fence line feeders so I don’t have to go into the pen with feed (much safer for my traumatized knee).

I would prefer to have 4 different winter groups: breeding ewes, adult rams, ewe lambs, and ram lambs, but I don’t currently have the ability to set things up like that.
 

jambi1214

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@purplequeenvt For the winter with ewes in barn are you leaving them in the barn 24/7? And feeding grain once in the morning does the hold them over through next day? Our vet really discouraged me from feeding grain especially to avoid feet trouble but I feel like I must in the winter? Also just feeding small amounts more like a treat but they won't eat Bermuda hay and can't find anything else local....How do you feed mineral? Ours is loose but it is normal to leave more out where they don't eat it all? I am also working on trying to make more fence feeders or do something to make it easier because right now it's not and I also want to ensure everyone gets to eat? I have all ewes and their lambs together always just removing ram for good portion of year.
 
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jambi1214

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These are the ewes (and ram I can't get rid of) that I have been trying to rehab. Today I'm going to try and tackle feet!! Finally got the white one to let me pet her head but I know once I get her a hold of her it's gonna prob ruin it but it's the worst feet I've ever seen! Anyways here they are.
 

Baymule

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Where are you located?
I’m in east Texas. Winters are generally mild, January and February are the coldest months. If it snows, it’s usually melted and gone in 3 days.

I’ve given my sheep horse quality Bermuda hay. They don’t like the stems and there is lots of waste. I feed round bales with a cow panel square around the bale, I have to pull hay for them twice daily as they eat so far, then can’t reach it.

I’m currently feed Bahia hay, very few stems, lots of leaf. They like it. I’m sold! I have a cow panel bowed over the bale with a tarp over it to shed rain. Not the best, but it’s what I can do right now.

I just moved end of August, to 25 acres, no barn here. I built cow panel night pens, have Quonset huts for shelter and the ewes have 2 cow panels bowed over with a tarp on them. Now that it’s getting cold, I’ll put up pallets to help block the wind. So it’s kinda rough right now. I had knee replacement surgery 5 weeks ago, so just have to hold what I’ve got, can’t do a lot right now. One thing I did do right was to buy a bunk feeder from Tractor Supply so I can feed over the fence.


Your sheep are eating all the mineral because they need it. Keep out enough out so they can get what they need. I buy the mineral mix from Premiere1 and mix with stock salt. Buying it by the bag at TSC gets expensive.

I feed a little in the mornings bucatini have 2 rams, in separate pens, that don’t have much grass. Each ram has a girlfriend for company, so they get free choice hay and a little feed twice a day. The ewes think they deserve something too, so I give them a little to shut them up, and turn them out on about a 3 acre field. I feed them in the evening to bring them in and close up in the night pen. Coyote presence is heavy, I try to make it easier on the dogs to guard.

Here is what I was able to put up for now. I’m not cleared for lifting any kind of weight yet. I think the doctor will be careful with me because of my high level of activity. LOL

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7BFB7010-78DF-4616-8E1B-B2B64B475D80.jpeg
 

Baymule

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Do they look terrible to you all?
They look pretty good to me. I’m guessing the big white one is your ram? Why do you want to get rid of him?

Do you have a small pen to confine them in ? Before I got my sheep working equipment, I T-posted pallets and cow panels to make a chute to work my sheep in. Not the best, but it was better than nothing. It sure beat the Chase and Flying Tackle method. LOL
 

purplequeenvt

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Grain is a supplement. I use it in the fall leading up to breeding season to help the ewes cycle better/increase chance of multiple births. I also feed it to the ewes starting about a month before lambing starts to get their energy levels up. The lambs grow a lot the last few weeks of gestation and that puts a strain on the ewes.

I feed grain all summer to my growing lambs. They handle parasites better if they are fed an adequate amount of protein.

I have been feeding more grain for a longer time than usual this fall to the breeding groups, but that is because my pasture is currently mediocre.

My sheep aren’t locked into the barn, but they don’t have access to the pasture. I set up a winter yard off the back of the barn. I like to give my pastures a rest for the winter and control when the sheep start grazing in the spring.

I don’t currently have a yard built for rams so they do have access to their field all winter, but there’s fewer of them so I don’t worry about them overeating and hurting the new spring grass quite as much. The plan is to build a yard off their side of the barn eventually.

For the minerals, I have weather-proof mineral feeders that go out in the pastures during the summer. When they are in the barn, have dishes screwed to the wall. Minerals are out 24/7. If they don’t have consistent access to the minerals, they will usually pig out when they’re first put out. The salt in the mix will generally prevent them from actually overeating, but you will go through a lot more than expected at first.

I buy the mineral pre-mix from Premier 1.

They also have plans for fence line feeders. You can buy the booklet, or use the online plans for free. The plans are for 8ft feeders, but I’ve modified them and built a 7ft, 4ft, and 3 5ft feeders to fit my space. I use a 16ft sheep and goat panel from TSC/Rural King/Southern States cut down to the right length for the feeder grate instead of buying the one from Premier.

Like I said before, I have enough feeder space that I can pile enough hay that they are good for 24 hours. I do check the sheep after work during lambing season or if I’m concerned about something.
 

Baymule

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Animal crackers are good sheep treats. You may have to put some in the feeder to get them to try them. After that, they will take them from your hand. Animal Crackers are sheep cocaine. LOL
 

purplequeenvt

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These are the ewes (and ram I can't get rid of) that I have been trying to rehab. Today I'm going to try and tackle feet!! Finally got the white one to let me pet her head but I know once I get her a hold of her it's gonna prob ruin it but it's the worst feet I've ever seen! Anyways here they are.
They don’t look terrible, but I’d be throwing some grain at them to put some meat on their bones. Do you know their history? I think I remember you saying that you got them in pretty bad shape?
 
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