Sheep and Goat Feed
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Sheep and Goat Feed Buying Guide: Everything You Need To Know
Welcome to our sheep and goat feed buying guide! This guide will provide you with all of the information you need to choose the right type of feed for your animals. We’ll cover topics such as types of feeds, how much you should be feeding your animals, what nutritional requirements should be met, and more. Here’s everything you need to know about buying feed for your sheep and goats.
What types of feed are available for sheep and goats?
Sheep and goats have a variety of feed options available, including hay, grain pellets or cubes, pasture grasses, and range cubes. Hay is the most common type of feed, and it is available in a variety of forms, including alfalfa hay, grass hay, orchardgrass hay, timothy hay, brome hay, and more. Grain pellets or cubes are also commonly used for supplemental feeding and provide concentrated energy sources. Pasture grasses provide vitamins A & D as well as fiber to help support digestive health. Range cubes are a combination of hay, grain, and other supplements that can provide animals with the nutrients they need when grazing is not an option.
What should I look for in a good quality feed?
When looking for quality feed, consider factors such as the ingredients used, expiration date, and price. Quality feeds should contain ingredients that are specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of sheep and goats, such as vitamins A & D, proteins, minerals, and other nutrients. You should also look for an expiration date on the bag or other packaging materials, as feed can begin to spoil if it is too old. Price may be a factor as well, depending on your budget and the size of your animals’ herd.
How much should I feed my sheep and goats?
The amount of feed you give to your animals depends on several factors, such as their age, body condition score (BCS), activity level, and the type of feed being used. Generally speaking, you should provide 1-2% of their body weight in hay or pasture grasses per day. For grain pellets or cubes, offer sheep and goats ½ to 1 lb. per day. Range cubes can be offered at a rate of 2 oz. per 100 lbs. of body weight daily; however, the amount should be monitored and adjusted based on the animal’s activity level.
What nutritional requirements should be met?
Sheep and goats require a diet that is high in fiber, protein, vitamins A & D, and various minerals. For hay or pasture grasses, look for feeds that contain at least 16-18% protein and a good source of fiber. Grain pellets should contain at least 13-15% protein, while range cubes usually provide 10-12% protein. Vitamin A is necessary for eye health and proper functioning of the immune system, while vitamin D helps with bone growth and is important in calcium absorption. Calcium is also essential for strong bones and teeth, and it is usually found in range cubes.
What about storage and feeding strategies?
It’s important to store feed properly to ensure its quality over time. Store hay in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight, as high temperatures can cause spoilage. Pellets or cubes should also be kept in a cool place, out of the sun. Feeders and hayracks should be placed in a sheltered area so that the animals are protected from rain or wind while they eat. Offer feed at least twice daily, with smaller portions offered more frequently if possible.
Are there any supplements I can give my sheep and goats?
Supplements can offer additional intake of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to support your animals’ overall health. Offer a mineral block that contains copper, zinc, manganese, cobalt, selenium, and other trace minerals. If you notice signs of anemia in your animals such as pale mucous membranes or difficulty staying warm, a vitamin B12 supplement may be beneficial. Vitamin E and selenium supplements may also help with immune system health. Additionally, an electrolyte can be offered to animals that have been under stress from illness, injury, transportation, or other factors.
What should I do if my sheep and goats become ill?
Sheep and goats can become sick from parasites, bacterial or viral infections, nutritional deficiencies, or other factors. If you suspect that one of your animals is ill, monitor them closely for several days to observe any changes in their behavior or appetite. Contact your veterinarian immediately if the animal’s condition worsens, or if symptoms such as labored breathing, fever, discoloration of the mucous membranes, diarrhea, or weight loss are present. Treating illnesses quickly is important in preventing complications and ensuring a speedy recovery.
Feeding sheep and goats properly ensures that they receive all of the essential nutrients they need for good health. Hay, pastures, and feed pellets or cubes are all important sources of nutrition; however, the amount that you offer can vary depending on several factors. Supplements can also be beneficial in providing your animals with extra vitamins and minerals to support their overall health. Lastly, it is important to watch for any signs of illness and contact your veterinarian if necessary. By following these guidelines, you can keep your sheep and goats happy and healthy.
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