Hay cubes for sheep?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Mykee, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. Mykee

    Mykee Chillin' With My Peeps

    I bought some hay cubes (Standlees' mini alfalfa/ timothy) for my sheep today. She is three years old. Do you think she will be able to chew the cubes? Also, I heard once that alfalfa is not good for sheep. Is this true and why?
     
  2. Frogdogtimestwo

    Frogdogtimestwo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2008
    I am not an expert but my sheep will not eat cubes, I would soak them and see if they will but don't hold your breath. I only feed alfalfa to my sheep but it depends on their grazing options, we have no pasture in the desert so they do fine with the extra protein, if you have rich grazing they would not need that except possibly to up their nutrients before lambing. I hope others chime in for you but that is my experience with my sheep.
     
  3. Mykee

    Mykee Chillin' With My Peeps

    I fed her some soaked cubes, and she really likes them. The only problem is it takes forever for the cubes to get soft. I soak them in enough cold water to cover them. Am I doing it wrong?
     
  4. Frogdogtimestwo

    Frogdogtimestwo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2008
    I just made it a habit to bring it in the house the night before and use warm water, then it was ready to go for the days feedings.
     
  5. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,981
    22
    141
    Aug 8, 2011
    because of the size of the cubes, sheep may find them hard to chew. soaked, they can eat them fine. it also helps prevent choke, where they get too much or two large a chunk lodged in their throat (can happen with pellets too, in sheep that don't know you have to chew them.)

    we feed straight aflalfa in the last two months of gestation, and first 2-3 months of lactation if the ewe isn't maintaining weight... extra protien helps them keep up with the demand of growing lambs. we also may use it when bringing under-condition sheep back up to weight. however, alfalfa is high in calcium, and high in protien, and it can cause kidney issues, as well as causing urinary calculi (stones) in rams/wethers (altough this is more of a problem in goats). sheep don't generally *need* that level of protien, and there are potential risks, so we don't feed straight alfalfa year round.

    the rest of the time we feed roughly 1/2 alfalfa, and 1/2 whatever grass hay is available, looks to be good quality, and is reasonably priced (usually bermuda, sometimes forage, occasionally orchard).

    this year we'll have pasture so we may not need to suplement, but will watch the quality of the milk and the condition of the ewes, and add alfalfa if they need a boost.

    when we're soaking cubes/pellets, after we feed, we load a bucket with them, fill to the top with water, and leave it set until the next feeding. (so we start the evening's feed soaking right after we feed the morning meal.) if it's cold, you might need to take it inside to soak.

    one thing about feeding pellets is they eat *everything*... with hay, they pick through for the leaves and waste some of the stems. with cubes, it depends... some sheep clean up everything, some pick a bit, but they still waste less than with regular alfalfa hay. we found during rainy weather, where they'll walk the stems into the dirt and mud, it's cheaper to feed pellets, even though they cost more because there's less waste. when it's dry, we rake up the leftover stems and toss them to the horses for treats... which works as long as the hay isn't soiled.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by