January 23, 2007

Feeding the sheep

Here is a sheep’s eye view (with head in feeder), looking at other ewes eating.

Chore time for the sheep is twice a day, in morning and late afternoon. All that needs to be done is put out hay (heated water and mineral supplements are always available). This year the alfalfa bales weigh about 60-70 lbs. I lift them onto a toboggan or wheel barrel and take them out to the feeders. My brother and I constructed the feeders a few years ago from 2x4 and 2x6 lumber. It has been a big improvement, compared to the first winter when I put the hay on the ground. The food stays cleaner and very little is wasted. The feeders are moved around every few days to spread out fallen hay and sheep dung that accumulates around them.

The alfalfa smells like a hay meadow in June! When I open it up, all the green leaves are on the stems and even the flower blossoms have retained their cheerful colors. The alfalfa is very high in protein and other minerals so I don't supplement with any grains (however each ewe gets a small quantity of oats for lactation once she gives birth). Each animal gets approximately 4.5 lbs of alfalfa hay per day. On mild days they don’t eat as much but on very cold days their consumption is more. It’s a lot like putting wood onto a fire - the more wood consumed the more heat is made. All animals require more food when the weather is severely cold. Fortunately we've had a Chinook wind blow out of the west and the weather is very mild (-5c to +5c).

1 comment:

kyler said...

hey grandma I like yore blog its really cool schjust wanted ools going great to say hi.

love from, kyler