Beekissed

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Took a few pics today of one of the feeding stations. This station used to have a block of square bales in it, but those have been consumed, so I moved the CP wrapper into a corner and am filling it with loose hay from a round bale out in the front soon-to-be-pasture. I pack it in there pretty tightly so they can't pull out too much hay each time they grab a mouthful. Seems to be working great at minimizing waste while still letting them get their fill.

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Shine has decided she loves peanut butter dog biscuits after all~used to Rose was the only one who would eat a dog biscuit~and is checking to see if the camera is food....she's really warming up to the treat bringer nowadays. Seemed like when she got more sheep in her flock, she felt safer and acts less skittish overall.
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Although it's a bit of extra work to hand cart that loose hay up the hill to the pens(not the original plan, of course)it feels good to be using a pitchfork on loose hay, pitching it into a bin, etc. Feels like a connection to all the folks down through the ages that did that on a daily basis from loose hay stored in barns and stacks. I like that physical and almost spiritual aspect of it.

It also feels good to see them with their heads buried in that sweet smelling hay, staying well fed and warm on a cold day. I thank the Lord for the chance to do this, to live this lifestyle and to experience all the sights, sounds and smells of it all. Just bliss!!!
 

Beekissed

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I have our round bale parked under the roof of the sheep barn, then I enclose it with half cow panels. YOU are the one who taught me that, years ago, long before I ever got sheep. Thank you!!
:gig It's amazing what you can come up with when you don't want to fool with hay bales every day, huh? That's why I started that CP feeder situation, so the sheep could feed themselves without too much waste going on. It really does work, doesn't it?

I see now where Premier 1 has feeder panels, which are just small squared hog panels with four larger holes cut in the panel, called big bale feeders....for $58!!!! Do you think they lurk on these forums and steal our ideas? ;) I didn't start seeing probios in chicken feed until the FF craze really started to hit....I think it was their answer to FF, but an expensive answer.

 

Baymule

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I have it on my radar to build a covered round bale feeder on skids. I'll have to pull it with the tractor, but what the heck. I want it for the horses.

yeah, i looked at the Premiere1 hay ring. :lol: Who are they fooling?
 

Sheepshape

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A lot of us use rolled up fencing wire as feeders over here, too. Cheap, cheerful and effective with 'holes' just about the right size for sheep to pull out the feed. I have some little individual feeders which hook over sheep hurdles for feeding sheep who have just lambed etc. Also some little water buckets which do the same. They are not at all expensive and last for years.

Big bale feeders are relatively common over here. BUT, with our wet climate, the area around the bale feeder becomes a sinking, soggy mess and is a good breeding ground for footrot bugs. Much better to have a wheeled rack which can be shifted by hand every day. Clearly a bit more work....but no need to go the gym after day on 'sheep duties'

We loosen silage/hay/haylage from the big bales and top up the feeders daily. Sheep are 'fussy feeders' and won't eat anything that's a bit old/wet/soiled or has fallen on the floor, so this is best removed daily.

There's really no need to pay silly prices for fancy feeders.
 

Beekissed

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We loosen silage/hay/haylage from the big bales and top up the feeders daily. Sheep are 'fussy feeders' and won't eat anything that's a bit old/wet/soiled or has fallen on the floor, so this is best removed daily.
Not sure if that applies to these hair sheep....they seem to LOVE old, rotten and moldy hay that has been wet over and over. They were tearing up a 2 yr old mulch round bale that was all kinds of rotten that I had spread on my garden....acted like it was the best hay they've ever eaten. All that with having new, fresh hay from two different sources and cutting times available to them.

My last hair sheep did the same....I had bought the best hay around for them that year and they were feeding underneath a tarp that I had over some moldy, dusty 20 yr old square bales I had got to put on the garden. Couldn't keep them out of that nasty old hay! The lovely, green and fragrant hay I got for them to eat was just tossed around and wasted that year.

In their current feeder situation, as I'm filling it with fresh hay, if I see any they've pulled out in front of the feeder that doesn't look soiled or trampled, I'll recycle that through the feeder and it gets consumed. I'm thinking hair sheep are a little less fussy about what they eat than woolly breeds?
 

Baymule

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For the horses, I am using a horse hay ring. I move it for each new bale. The dead hay and horse manure are improving the soil, so I don't care about the waste, it's all good!
 

Baymule

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At the hay bale in the sheep barn, they sift through the stemmy parts, eating the leafy parts. I pull the reject stems out and put them in a tub. The sheep then go through the reject hay, eating more of it. What is left at the end of the day, goes on the barn floor to become deep litter.
 

Beekissed

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I can already see the shape of the ewe's bellies changing....beyond their natural winter fatness, that is. I see fullness and sag where the lambs are growing and they won't be here for another 4 months! Didn't expect to notice that this early on, especially as fat as these sheep already were.

I can't WAIT to see those little tails twirling!!!
 
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