People have been raising livestock for a long time, this process has its own nuances. If a farmer wants to breed sheep, the question may arise about the correct diet for these animals.
What do sheep eat?
Keeping sheep implies not only caring for them, but also proper feeding. They feed on plant foods, including weeds, hay, thorns, and grain. Experts recommend giving up grazing sheep on a flooded lawn, swampy or forest pastures. This animal needs to graze in areas of the mountain or steppe type, where there is a suitable food base for them.
Sheep should be given hay, grass from pastures, rye, grain feed, barley, compound feed, wheat can be used.
The nutrition of this representative of the animal world should be varied; the following components should be included in it.
- Green grass . This product is the basis for the nutrition of this ungulate in summer. An animal that spends all day in the pasture can do without any feeding. Fresh greens are considered as nutritious as high quality concentrated feed. By the end of summer, when the variety of herbs becomes scarce, separately grown greens of cereals should be included in the diet of rams. This plant can be rye, oats, winter wheat.
- Silo . This food element is very important, nutritious and beneficial for sheep. From silage, animals increase their weight and milk production. One adult representative will need 3-4 kg of silage per day. Silage can be mixed with solid feed.
- Hay . This type of feed is characterized by versatility, its nutritional value is influenced by the plant composition, the fulfillment of the rules for correct harvesting and preservation. Sheep prefer alfalfa, clover and legume hay. During the day, a sheep must consume up to 4000 grams of hay.
- Root crops, melons and gourds. This food is not only useful, but also in great demand among sheep. This type of animal prefers fodder beets, pumpkin, zucchini, carrots. Vegetables have a high vitamin content and a significant percentage of fiber, which has a beneficial effect on the growth of sheep. These products are a must for females during pregnancy and lamb feeding, as the crops help improve milk production as well as wool quality.
- Concentrated feed. The group of this sheep food product includes oat grains, barley, wheat, peas, bran, corn, cake. It contains a large percentage of fats, protein, minerals. These products are especially important for productive sheep. The animal prefers corn grain, cake.
- Straw . This is a low-nutritional feed product, therefore it serves as an excellent feeding during the stall period. The best type of breakage is considered to be legume, barley, oat. A young individual can eat 1000 grams of straw per day, and an adult - 2500 grams.
- Sheep feed additives can be presented in the form of complete mineral mixtures. Vital elements for sheep are Ca, P, Se, salt. Sources of these components include bone meal, dicalcium phosphate, sodium phosphate, alfalfa leaf meal, dried algae, traced mineral mixtures.
To improve the digestion of sheep, it is recommended to feed them with probiotics, that is, beneficial bacteria. Some feed types already have these components.
The antibiotic is strictly prohibited in lambs, but can be used to prevent abortion in females.
The dependence of food on the season
Eating sheep has a significant difference depending on the season. Farmers should carefully consider feeding ungulates at different times, taking into account their need for certain elements.
In winter, the sheep do not have the opportunity to feed on their own in the pasture, so a person will have to deal with the supply of all food. One animal needs 4 kg of hay per day, the same amount of silage, root crops, 400 grams of compound feed, mineral additives.
Feeding sheep in spring is similar to feeding in summer. After coarse winter food, the animals should be transferred to greenery, which is just beginning to grow over the meadows. At the same time, do not stop feeding the rams with nutritious hay.
One representative is required to dispense approximately 700 grams of concentrate feed in the spring.
In the summer diet, 85% of the feed is green food. Females, while carrying and feeding babies, need 8,000 grams of greens per day, while the rest of the animals need about 7,000 grams. Grazing animals for 13 hours a day, you can provide them with everything the body needs. Young animals up to 9 months of age need 4000 grams of greenery, an animal at 12-16 months of age needs 2 kilograms more. Also, in summer, sheep should be given root crops, hay, concentrates, which should be about 0.2 kilograms, and salt.
In autumn, pasture vegetation almost completely loses its nutritional value. Therefore, it is worth compensating for the missing number of useful components by adding hay to the diet.
One representative needs 3 kg of hay, 4 kg of root crops, additives per day.
Diet and norms
The daily amount of food for animals is influenced by their age, purpose and time of the year, which is why the farmer's diet must be formulated correctly. For example, pregnant females need nutritious and nutritious food. This sheep is obliged to receive half a kilogram of cereal hay, the same amount of straw, 0.3 kg of hay from legumes. Also, the female needs juicy food, which includes green herbs, vegetables and root crops; the animal needs at least 3 kg per day of juicy products. Also, do not forget about grains and compound feed in the amount of 300 grams and 0.015 kg of additives.
For fattening rams
To keep the ram from losing the desired shape, it should consume foods containing vitamins, minerals and fiber every day. During the mating period, the animal spends much more energy than usual, for this reason the nutritional value of the food should be increased by 2-3 times.
When about 1.5 months are left before mating, the ram needs to be heavily fattened so that it is energetic in the process.
The diet for a day at the time of mating should be as follows:
- hay - 2000 grams;
- shit from cereals - 800 grams;
- meal - 250 grams;
- fodder carrots - 500 grams;
- salt - 16 grams.
When mating, rams should add a liter of fat-free milk to the diet, as well as 100 grams of meat and bone meal. The diet of animals that you want to fatten for meat should be especially nutritious, because it can contribute to an increase in the mass of sheep. It is worth making more total daily calorie intake and at the same time reducing its physical activity. Such activities will lead to rapid weight gain in a short time.
The menu for 14-21 days before slaughter should be as follows:
- 700 g of good quality hay;
- 5000 g silage;
- 1000 g of root vegetables;
- 450 g of concentrate, in this case you can use barley, peas, corn.
It is also worth remembering that at this time, sheep should not be fed fatty foods more than before. As a result, you can get a lot of fat and little meat.
For newly born lambs
The first 2-2, 5 months the lambs are fed by the female, therefore the composition and quality of milk has a direct impact on their growth and vital activity. In the case when the uterus is not able to feed the baby, he is watered with a teat with cow's milk or placed with another dairy sheep. Feeding lambs costs 5 times a day and in small portions
When babies are 2 months old, they begin to demand minerals. To this end, farmers must install separate feeders, in which chalk, bone meal, salt are poured. From the same age, babies can be given a concentrate . For the first times, 50 grams of concentrate will be sufficient. It is also worth gradually introducing hay from legumes into the diet.
Lambs from 4 to 6 months old should be given the following foods:
- 0.3 kg of compound feed;
- 0.15 kg of cake;
- 0.5 kg of vegetables and root crops;
- 4 grams of salt.
From the age of 5 months, young sheep should be fed twice a day. Feeding young sheep aged 10-12 months should be done with the following products:
- 0.5 kg of hay from cereals and legumes;
- 1500 grams of haylage;
- 150 grams of barley dough;
- 50 grams of meal;
- 9 grams of salt.
So that the lamb's body does not suffer from a lack of sulfur, the farmer should include this supplement in his diet. One gram of sulfur will be enough for an animal for 24 hours.
What can not be fed?
Foods that are prohibited for consumption by sheep :
- grass growing in swampy areas, for example, reeds, horsetails;
- acidic cereal vegetation in the form of sedge, rush;
- beets, as high sugar levels can cause diabetes;
- vegetables, fruits and melons in large pieces or whole (these products can be given extremely finely chopped);
- baked goods and pastries for young animals.
There are certain rules for sheep breeding at home. The main one is the correct diet of these ungulates. Feeding should be done with the following conditions.
- It is required to feed the sheep during the stall phase three times a day, at the same hours. Thus, the feed conversion of sheep is reduced.
- Less nutritious food should be given at night, so that the digestive tract of the animal does not overstrain, and that there is no oversaturation of energy before the sleep phase.
- Do not forget about the round-the-clock supply of clean drinking water to sheep, as well as free access to drinking bowls. It is worth watering young individuals more often than adults.
- There is no need to feed the herd if it is in the pasture for more than 13 hours a day.
- Females who have given birth and have given birth should be kept with full feeders at all times.
Lamb can be high in fat if the animal has been overfed with barley. Farmers' testimonies indicate that oats should be given to adult sheep, and bran should be given to young ones. High-protein feed includes pea and bean flour. The nutritional requirement of this animal is satisfied by feeding it a variety of high quality food.
It is worth knowing that a sheep is an animal that can quickly adapt to a new diet, however, the diet is directly affected by the productivity, physiological state and live weight of the ram.
You can learn more about feeding sheep and rams in the following video.