The basis for normal weight gain and an increase in livestock in the flock is the proper feeding of the sheep. The nutrition of animals must be balanced; the choice of its regimen depends on many factors. It is taken into account that sheep eat depending on the season, age category and purpose of their cultivation.
The diet of sheep consists almost entirely of plant foods, as these are herbivores. A large part of the flock spends on grazing and feeds on pasture, during this period the animals practically do not need additional feed additives.
What do sheep eat?
For the full development of young individuals and increase the number of livestock, it is necessary to include in the diet at different times a lot of different products. Let’s talk about each of them.
The main part of the sheep’s diet is succulent feed. There are several of them:
- Grass. Sheeps eat not only young and juicy shoots, but also coarse herbs, such as thorns, weeds, and even thin branches of trees. When choosing pasture, breeders prefer arid areas, since flood meadows and swampy lowlands are not very suitable for sheep. Fresh green mass is very nutritious, but in the second half of summer it loses some of its valuable properties, so by this time animals begin to feed with cereal greens, for example, rye, oats, corn or shoots of winter wheat, legumes.
- Silage. Sheep eats this food with particular desire; it is slightly inferior in nutrition to grass. Corn silage mixed with roughage and bean hay is especially good. Its daily norm for sheep is up to 4 kg.
- Roots. Vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins and fiber, in addition, this is a favorite treat of sheep. How to feed the sheep? Best fodder beets and carrots. They help improve the digestion of animals and their ability to resist infections. It is advisable to give up to 4 kg of such feed per day.
- Melons and gourds. They also saturate the body of animals with vitamins and fiber. For these purposes, usually use zucchini and pumpkins.
Juicy food is what sheep eat in the most favorable periods for feeding their body mass. They pay special attention to their quality, since it is they who saturate animals in all periods of the year. The remaining ingredients are used as top dressing.
Coarse feed also occupies a fairly large part of the sheep’s feeding, especially in winter:
- Straw. It is not advisable to use this type of feed, but it is often included in the diet of adult sheep because of the need, but its daily dose should not exceed 2.5 kg. Young growth can also be given straw, but in much smaller quantities, up to 1 kg. It is best to use straw from legumes, oats, millet and barley.
- Hay. The highest quality differs forbs during flowering, clover, alfalfa, peas. They have valuable nutritional properties, and they also contain a lot of essential trace elements. Hay is the basis for feeding sheep in the stall period. Each adult should eat 2-4 kg of such food daily.
- Haylage. It is harvested during the haying period, while the grass is dried to a moisture content of 50% and canned in airtight containers.
For sheep, the best feeds are concentrates, but sometimes it is impossible to fully feed the animals, because they have a high cost. These include:
- cereals such as wheat, barley and oats;
- sunflower or soybean meal;
- corn grains;
- compound feed designed specifically for sheep.
These feeds are extremely rich in proteins, fats and starch, therefore it is necessary to feed the sheep with them at least in the amount of 100-150 grams per sheep and up to 600 grams per ram per day.
Diet and Feeding
The components of the diet are combined in different proportions. The norms for feeding sheep should ideally be selected for each individual individual according to its condition. Particular attention is paid to how to properly feed pregnant sheep and young animals. To compile a nutritious diet, it is worth considering all the factors affecting the diet separately.
At different times of the year, the nutrition of sheep varies, this is due to the availability of certain types of feed:
- Spring. At this time of the year, it is necessary to transfer the flock from roughage to fresh herbs. This should be done gradually, haste can lead to intestinal upset, for this, at rest, you need to give the animals hay. In addition to the plant mass, concentrates in amounts up to 700 grams and salt are added to the feed.
- Summer. In the warm season, fresh greens should be at least 85% of the daily ration of sheep. In addition, animals are given up to a kilogram of hay per individual, about 200 grams of concentrated feed and salt.
- Autumn. At this point, grass on pastures loses the bulk of its beneficial properties, which are replenished with hay, at least three kilograms per day. In addition to it, the diet includes up to 4 kg of vegetables and mineral salts.
- Winter. The possibility of pasturing flocks to the pasture is completely excluded, so the daily diet is formed from 4 kg of hay, 4 kg of silage, up to 300 g of compound feed, up to 4 kg of vegetables, do not forget about the addition of mineral salts.
Diet of sheep, sheep-producers
Sheep in a state of maturation should be fed the highest quality feed. A month before birth, most of the roughage is replaced by concentrated and juicy ingredients:
- a pound of cereal hay;
- up to 300 g of bean hay;
- a pound of straw;
- succulent feed of at least 3 kg;
- 300 g of concentrates;
- up to 15 g of salt.
Sheep, responsible for the reproduction of offspring, also need special nutrition. In normal times, it consists of the following ingredients:
- hay, up to 2 kg;
- succulent feed, up to 3 kg;
- up to 600 g of concentrated feed.
During the mating season, the ram-producer loses a lot of energy, therefore, 2 months before it, it is necessary to tighten its feeding:
- the rate of hay is reduced to one and a half kg;
- 1.4 kg of concentrates, more than half of which should be oats;
- 2 chicken eggs or up to 200 g of cottage cheese;
- up to 500 g of vegetable ingredients.
Feeding young and young lambs
The first 5 days of life, lambs feed exclusively on breast milk. If this is not possible, which is possible with death or disease of the uterus, then the cubs need to be planted with another female or watered with cow’s milk.
Feeding of young sheep at home is carried out from the nipple in a five-day daily regimen; by the age of two months, the lambs should be fed twice a day. The transition is carried out smoothly and try to teach young animals to drink from a bowl as early as possible.
Simultaneously with the milk nutrition, lambs begin to be accustomed to solid food. They start with concentrated feeds, bringing their amount from 50 g in the first month to 300 g by the fourth, using protein-rich feed varieties. In addition, bean hay must be included in the diet.
Further, feeding the small lambs and the reared young sheep should look like this:
- half a kilo of hay, haylage and vegetables;
- 300 g of animal feed;
- 150 g of high-quality oilcake;
- up to 4 g of salt.
older than six months:
- 1 kg of hay;
- up to 500 g of vegetable crops;
- 200 g of concentrated feed;
- 8 g of mineral salts.
To increase productivity, sheep are transferred to a special diet. Sheep fattening begins a few weeks before slaughter:
- up to 700 g of high-quality hay, better than bean or clover;
- 5 kg of silage;
- 1 kg of vegetables;
- 450 g of concentrates.
For fattening sheep for meat, the most protein-rich concentrates are used: peas, barley, and corn. This will help speed up muscle building.
When feeding sheep, not only the components of the diet and their norms are important, but also the diet. For better assimilation of food by animals, you should adhere to some rules:
- In the stall period, feed three times a day.
- In the evening, ask for less nutritious food.
- Be sure to water animals of all ages daily.
- Concentrates give after drinking, and succulent feed in front of him.
- During grazing, you can refuse to feed if the flock spends at least 13 hours a day on the pasture.
- Sheep fattening should be carried out with a constantly filled feeder, also with pregnant and lactating uterus.
Paying attention to the proper nutrition of animals is extremely important, since the state of health of each animal depends on it. Feeding affects the number of offspring, with proper and fairly plentiful nutrition, there are practically no cases of lambing by one cub. This allows you to quickly increase the number of livestock.