All you sheep owners: Feeding & Bedding questions! UPDATED

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Chick_a_dee, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    We're getting two Dorset X ewes, they may be pregnant, what should we feed them as far as grain? They'll have lots of grass until it dies back in a couple weeks, but they'll be coming in at night and I thought I'd give them a little something. Also, will they need hay in the stall if I bring them in at night? If yes, how much should I give them? A flake or two each? One flake each?

    Second, Bedding... What bedding should I put in their stall, I have shavings already that I use for the chickens.

    Edited to Add: They may be pregnant, they have been in with the rams for a while, if they are pregnant they'd be due in February.

    Edited to Add:

    I'm thinking of putting up a couple haynets (not the crappy kind, the ones that are webbed mesh) in the stall to keep hay off the floor, thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2008
  2. Colored Egg Farmer

    Colored Egg Farmer Chicken overload

    Just feed them any sheep feed not lamb that you can get. I would also get them some salt and minerals just make sure no copper. We use wood shavings for our bedding but the hay slowly covers it up but the shavings are better at absorbing the liquids.
     
  3. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Quote:We have a large blue salt block in their field, and a small blue on in the stall for them at night, ... If I can't find sheep feed, not lamb, would they do well on sweet feed, or oats?
     
  4. Colored Egg Farmer

    Colored Egg Farmer Chicken overload

    we have given oats but not as a regular diet. the sweet feed I'm not sure about.
     
  5. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    Sweet feed contains copper, you CANNOT give sheep copper it is toxic. We mix crushed corn, oats, alpha oats, and alflafa pellets. Free choice hay 24/7. If they are woolies you don't really want to use hay for bedding because it messes up the wool. MAke sure no copper, eve. You have to read labels closely. Also, they make a sheep mineral block just for them.
     
  6. Colored Egg Farmer

    Colored Egg Farmer Chicken overload

    even make sure if it says sheep to check for copper we got a mineral block that said for sheep but had copper in it... returned it to the store immediately.
     
  7. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    Also forgot to tell you that it is better to just pasture feed sheep. They are stronger, have less bloat, etc. Pasture and Hay is all ours get unless they are pregnant.
     
  8. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Welllll that's just it, they may be pregnant, they've been with the rams, and if they are pregnant then they'd be due in February. We were told by the people they're coming from to get the blue block, which says it's for sheep, it's also used for horses. I'll check the label tomorrow just incase it says copper in it anyway.

    They'll be on pasture until it dies back for the winter, but they're brought in at night as well.
     
  9. henjoy

    henjoy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 13, 2007
    Our ewes are on pasture now as well, but later in the fall, we will start giving them hay and in winter a bit of corn. They really like corn (our grandkids call it "sheep candy") but they just get it in the coldest part of winter becuse they can get fat if they eat too much. Ditto on everyone else's mineral block advice. If you plan to use the fleeces try to keep hay out of the wool as much as possible. Of more concern to me is the fact that you may be lambing in Ontario in February. This is not for sissies, checking ewes several times a night in below freezing weather isn't fun. Still, after all of the sleepless nights, you'll have some cute lambs bouncing around.They are absolutely adorable. Do you have a nice draft-free stall for your ewes and a source of heat if it is really cold when they lamb? Unless it is really cold, once the lambs are up and dry they usually do better in cooler weather than hot. Most ewes lamb trouble-free and I'm sure you will be able to get advice from whoever you are getting them from. Oh and one more bit of lambing advice, unless you have access to sheep milk anytime of the day or night, you might want to get some sheep milk replacer to have just in case. Someone might decide not to feed her lambs and you might have to. All of this is not to alarm you but these are things I wish I had known when I had my first lambs. Sheep are generally pretty easy. You will love your sheep, and if you are like me you'll want more. I started with one to keep a goat company and now I have 42 Shetland and ShetlandX sheep. Worth every bale of hay carried, every bag of corn, every sleepless night
    at lambing and every minute shearing. Sheep are wonderful
     
  10. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Sheep do need traces of copper but not large amounts. The no copper at all is bad advice. I discussed this with my vet and she told me they do indeed need trace minerals and tiny amounts of copper found in the mineral licks and sheep feeds.

    If you have pasture let them graze and don't worry too much about buying feed. They need some hay especially through the winter.

    I have dairy sheep. They eat grass in the pasture. They are fat and sassy. Don't waste too much money on feed. Ruminants don't need much in the way of grains.

    I would suggest if they are skittish and not hand raised to 'bribe' them daily with a little feed so you can get your hands on them and gentle them.

    Honestly, put them in the pasture and just keep an eye on them. They will be fine. Just like cows.
     

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