Basic rules for feeding sheep

Proper feeding of sheep can increase the performance of animals. Sheep are herbivorous creatures, the basis of their nutrition is juicy green feed. Sheep breeding is a pretty profitable agricultural sector.

  1. Ruminant digestive system
  2. Juicy herbs
  3. Fiber <
  4. Concentrated mixtures
  5. Rationing <
  6. Adult nutrition
  7. Feeding young
  8. Feeding for slaughter
  9. Final part

Правила кормления овец

Sheep feeding rules

Ruminant digestive system

To successfully breed sheep, you need to have some knowledge about the features the structure and functioning of their digestive system. The table that describes the feeding standards for sheep of different ages helps to choose the right diet.

Sheep are a pasture type of animals with high ability to feed. Their intestines are 30 times the length of the body The stomach is multi-chamber.

Compared to other ruminants, sheep use plant feeds growing in the fields most effectively. The process of feeding sheep is divided into 3 stages:

  • mechanical;
  • microbial;
  • chemical.
Процесс питания овец

Sheep feeding process

The structure of the chewing apparatus allows the sheep to pick up individual grains on the field, eat prickly plants, low-stalk grasses.

It is very important to monitor the normal development of the jaws in the sheep. In recent years, there has been an increasing trend of growth of pathologies of the development of the lower jaw. Such pathologies in dry years can cause death in the flock due to malnutrition.

The physiological basis of nutrition is cicatricial digestion. The bulk of the food that the sheep eat is broken down by microorganisms in the rumen. Most of the digestible substances are the waste products of those very microorganisms. An excess of protein in the body and a lack of carbohydrates leads to ketonuria, therefore, when feeding, cereals and legumes should be used at the same time.

Juicy herbs

What can be fed to sheep? The basis of their nutrition is succulent feed. Due to the peculiarities of the structure of the chewing apparatus, sheep can be fattened not only with juicy green herbs, but also with dead wood, thorns and stubble after harvesting from wheat fields.

It is impossible to graze a flock in water meadows. By the end of summer, the grass loses its nutritional value, so cereal crops and legumes should be added. Silk sheep eat with special pleasure. In terms of nutrition, it is only slightly inferior to green fodder.It is best to mix corn silage with legumes and roughage.

What do sheep eat in the stall period? Food in the cold season should include root crops: fodder beets and carrots. They have a good effect on the digestive system and enrich the body of animals with all the necessary vitamins and minerals, increasing immunity. Up to 4 kg of root crops are indicated per day.

In winter, when animals need additional vitamins, you can add pumpkin to the menu. The main product is greens, which allows you to quickly feed young growth in a short period, therefore, its quality should be given special attention. All other types of food are used only as top dressing to enrich the body of lambs with vitamins in the cold season.


In the cold period, the main part of the food is roughage. There are types of feed that it is undesirable to give lambs, for example, straw. However, it is often included in the diet of lamb due to necessity. It is not recommended to exceed a daily dose of 2.5 kg. For young animals, the daily dose is much smaller – 1 kg, and for the uterus before delivery – 0.5 kg.

Сено является самым питательным продуктом

Hay is the most nutritious product

The most nutritious food in the stall period is hay. It is best to make blanks from flowering forbs. The daily norm for adult lamb is from 2 to 4 kg.

Another type of dry food is haylage. This is grass, dried in a special way and preserved in jars. Greens are dried at 50%. Harvesting begins during haymaking.

Concentrated mixtures

In highly developed countries, sheep are fed with compound feed in large sheep farms. The concentrate includes a full range of vitamins and minerals necessary for the full development of sheep and sheep. But the prices for feed are sometimes sky-high, and therefore, in our territories, farmers manage with what is in the fields and in the garden.

The composition of concentrated feeds includes:

  • cereals, presented mainly wheat, rye, barley and oats;
  • legumes;
  • sunflower or soybean meal;
  • special additives for sheep.


Nutrition rates are best determined individually for each individual, based on physiological needs and gender. Feeding of young animals, soft sheep, ewes and sheep will be significantly different. The norms are determined taking into account many factors, such as the time of year and the end purpose of the maintenance.

The norms of feeding for sheep and young animals in the summer period mean keeping on a free range. During this period, animals can independently eat as much juicy feed as the body needs. At this time, there is a rapid increase in body weight.

With the onset of autumn, juicy feed on pastures becomes smaller and it loses its nutritional properties, so you need to gradually introduce compound feed for sheep and add root crops, silage. In winter, the basis of nutrition is hay, and pumpkin, silage, and haylage are additionally introduced. In the cold season, mineral salts must be present in contentment.

Adult food

A pregnant sheep should receive only the highest quality food. About four weeks before birth, it is recommended that part of the roughage in the uterine diet be replaced with a juicy one. In the summer, there is no problem with this, and in the winter, at least 3 kg of root crops, silage and melons are added to allowance. Straw can be given up to 0.5 kg per day, concentrated feed should be present in an amount of 300 g.

The nutrition of breeding sheep should be enriched with vitamins and minerals. During mating, the male producer loses a lot of energy, which must be restored. To do this, increase the intake of succulent feed to 3 kg, and also add up to 1.4 kg of concentrates. For more efficient energy recovery, eggs or cottage cheese and vegetables are introduced into the diet of rams.

After giving birth, the mother must be provided with fortified nutrition and clean drinking water in the right amount. Uterus should receive fortified calcium fortified supplements.Without proper nutrition, the full development of offspring will be impossible, and lambs can be born with pathologies. Feeding the lambs in the future will depend on how long they will remain near the mother.

Feeding the young

How to feed the lambs? The first 5 days, babies feed on mother’s milk. It happens that the lambs die during childbirth, then the orphans are fed on their own with cow’s milk or planted in another uterus. A newborn lamb is fed from a bottle with a pacifier 5 times a day. After reaching 2 months, the lamb switches to 2 meals a day.

Кормление ягнят

Feeding the lambs

Suckling lambs are kept without supplements for the first month of life, they receive all the necessary vitamins and minerals along with mom’s milk. After, along with fattening milk, the lambs are gradually injected with solid feed, and later they begin to feed with dry compound feed, grain, bread. Upon reaching 4 months, the lamb should receive protein-fortified foods.

At the age of 4-6 months at home, the diet of lambs looks like this:

  • 0.5 kg of hay, vegetables or juicy greens;
  • 300 g of concentrate;
  • 150 g of sunflower meal or wheat bran;
  • about 4 g of mineral salts.

Feeding for slaughter

The technology of feeding sheep for the purpose of obtaining high-quality meat and wool involves the transfer of young animals to special nutrition a couple of weeks before slaughter. Carbohydrate feed should predominate in the diet, mainly clover or bean hay, silage is added from succulent feed, about 5 kg per day, as well as vegetables and concentrates. Protein-rich foods are introduced to quickly build muscle mass.

To make ram hair silky and shiny, increase the amount of concentrated feed. The lack of fortified foods leads to hair loss, weight loss. For full development and rapid mass gain, an egg and cottage cheese can be introduced into the diet of a ram. The lamb gains weight best in the summer, when there is enough green forage on the pastures. The video describes all the nutritional characteristics of the ram.

The final part

Balanced feeding of lambs is the key to obtaining healthy offspring in the future. At home, it’s very easy to make the right diet yourself, especially since you can use the tips from the educational video.

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Sheep feeding

More often than not, a sheep brings one lamb to the first litter. In order for the offspring to develop normally, the diet of the uterus is enriched with vitamins before mating. The insemination ram needs to be provided with sufficient intake of fortified feed to restore energy.

A couple of weeks before birth, the solid foods in the uterus diet are tried to be replaced with succulent ones and more concentrates are added.

The lambs are fed at home in the first month by a sheep, while dry feed is introduced in parallel. With the mother’s milk, the babies receive the first immunity.

If the sheep refuses the lamb, then the newborn is transferred to artificial nutrition. It is better to feed the lambs on time, so that in the future there will be no problems with switching to a two-time diet with a five-day diet.

The composition of the diet will depend on the time of year, the age of the individual and gender. In the summer months it is mostly grass, in the winter months – hay and mixed feed with vegetables. Hay and silage practically do not differ from each other in value, therefore, if it is not possible to get silage, you can increase the amount of hay in the diet.

For the slaughter of sheep, they are mainly sent at 7 months. A couple of months before this, active protein feed supplementation begins.

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Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

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