Feeding sheep is a complex and responsible process, requiring special attention of the livestock breeder, since the health, appearance, ability to reproduce the offspring, quantitative and taste characteristics of meat depend on the type and quality of the feeds consumed by the animals.
The best forage for sheep are:
1. Rough – hay, straw, chaff, corn leaves, sunflower heads;
2. Juicy and green – freshly cut hay of leguminous crops, grass, pasture, vegetables, fruits;
3. Concentrated – flour, mesquee, mixed fodder, oil cake, vitamin supplements.
Fodder and juicy food
In spring and summer, sheep are kept in pastures, where they can independently obtain their own food.
To keep sheep in the pasture, special conditions are required:
– First, the pasture must be completely cleared of feather grass and thistle. A feather-grass is an insidious plant, having got into the animal’s fur, it can not just spoil it, but get to the skin and sprout inside, thus causing pain. Thistle thorns also do not cause the sheep to have a special desire to eat well and move around the pasture in search of food;
– Secondly, the plants growing on the pasture should be no higher than 10-20 centimeters in height. Low plants are better absorbed by sheep.
Not having a suitable grazing on hand, farmers usually use in this field fields planted with clover, wick, or alfalfa. The only drawback to using such pastures is the need for strict control over the time spent on them by sheep. Thus, early in the morning and late in the evening, after the fall of dew, the animals must be moved to the corral. Grasses on the pasture should be exactly as much as necessary, so that each sheep for a day ate not less than 1/10 of its weight, that is, 3-4 kilograms.
In addition, the usual daily diet of sheep, regardless of the season, must include root crops – potatoes, beets, carrots, zucchini and pumpkins. One adult sheep should eat at least 2-3 kilograms of succulent food per day, for youngsters this rate is reduced to 600-950 grams. Before distributing feed on the feeding troughs, they must be thoroughly rinsed, carefully inspected for rot, and only after that finely chopped or grated.
Feeding sheep must also consume at least 3 kilograms of silage. This product brings particular benefit in winter, when animals lack vitamins.
In winter, sheep are usually kept in warm stalls and transferred to coarse fodder – hay, or straw with the addition of chaff. Feeding sheep with hay is considered more productive because hay is a reliable source of all the nutrients essential to the animals – proteins, proteins, fats, fiber, phosphoric acid and calcium.
Long-term farming experience has shown that the best in terms of acquisition and return is the usual field or meadow hay, which includes a variety of different herbs. For hay to bring more benefits to the sheep, it should be mowed before the flowering of the grass. Later mowing leads to a loss of nutritional value of the product almost half.
The livestock breeders identified several types of hay: mountain, bean, field, meadow, wormwood, each of which has its advantages in feeding sheep. Straw of sheep is recommended to feed only in extreme cases, since the stomachs of these animals are not well adapted for this type of food. In the absence of hay, the amount of straw and chaff per head should be brought up to 2 kilograms.
In addition, to the coarse feed also include leaves of plants, branches, as well as corn, barley, or oats. It should be noted that corn is considered a very nutritious and useful product, but it should be fed with extreme caution, since the large amount of fat contained in it can cause sharp obesity in animals.
Concentrated fodders that eat other animals with great appetite do not bring much benefit to the sheep, they should be given in limited quantities, especially young growth, as an overabundance in the normal diet of mixed fodders can cause disruption of the digestive tract and negatively affect health.
So, for lambs the norm of concentrated forages should not exceed 200 grams, for feeding sheep -250 grams, for the rest – 300 grams.
In addition, sheep are also fed vitamin supplements, premixes, oil cakes, meals, bran and vitamins in pure form.
It is important to understand that the more diverse the feed, the healthier and more well-fed animals will grow, the more they will be able to get.
Forage for sheep