Sheep Feed Basic Information for Beginners

Introduction of Sheep Feeding:

Let us discuss today about types of sheep feed and feeding methods of sheep or lamb.

This sheep farming is one of the most popular businesses; it is not, but raising and breeding the domestic sheep. This is also one of the branches of animal husbandry. Mostly, the sheep are raised for its meat, milk and wool. These sheep can be raised in the range of temperature climate and these include arid zones. For them we need to facilitate feeding, housing and more comforts like water transportation and also medical facilities. The housing should contain fencings, shearing sheds, milk barns, and also the feed storage room. The sheep farming is one of the profitable businesses all over the world. To the shepherds the source of income will be good through the sale of meat and also wool. The sheep are capable of adapting to any type of environment and poor management practices. Day by day meat rate is increasing; as meat lovers are increasing the demand is also increasing.

Scope of Feed in Sheep Farming:

Almost all types of feed can be fed to the sheep. Among all other domestic animals, the sheep is one of the animals which can survive by eating any kind of feed. They can also intake low quality of leaves, if there is a scarcity of feed. By eating only the corn they can also survive. But sheep prefer grass more than any other feed. The sheep love to graze, then consuming the grass. The Sheep and  feed management will in alike. But the sheep needs more fiber in their feed than the grainy feed. The sheep don’t prefer large varieties of feed.

Hay for Sheep.
Hay for Sheep.

Types of Sheep Feed:

There are three types of feed as per the age and period of time the sheep should be fed with the type of specific feed.

Meat Productive Sheep Feed

  • Dried Molasses
  • Wheat Roughage
  • Maize Powder
  • Dried Grasses
  • Soybean cake

Pregnant Sheep Feed

  • Dried Grasses
  • Barley
  • Maize Cylage
  • Maize, Dried Molasses, and Soybean Cake

Mother Sheep Feed

  • Barley, Maize and Wheat Roughage
  • Dried Grasses

Read: Fish Feed Preparation.

Sheep Feed Timings:

Feeding of Kids or Lambs (birth – 3 months)

  • The just born Sheep should be fed with the colostrums once after they are born.
  • The new born Sheep should be frequently accessed with the milk for 3 days.
  • After 3 days, we need to feed the Sheep with the milk for 2 – 3 times in a day.
  • The Sheep which are of about 2 week’s age should be trained to eat the green roughages.
  • We need to feed the Sheep with concentrated mixture, when the Sheep are of 1 month age.
Sheep Kid Feeding.
Sheep Kid Feeding.

Colostrums feeding for the kids or Lambs

  • The kids should be allowed to suck the dam of the mother so that they will get good amount of colostrum for the first three – four days.
  • In limiting kid loss, the colostrum feeding will be a major factor.
  • For feeding the kids, the cow colostrums can also be used, which is also efficient for the lambs
  • The rate at which the colostrums are given to the live weight of kg is 100 ml.
  • The preservation of colostrums can be done by preserving with 1 – 1.5 % (Vol/wt).

Sheep of 3 – 12 months age

  • For about 8 hours we need to pasture in the grazing.
  • We should feed a Sheep with 100 – 200 g of supplementation of concentrate mixture which contains 16 – 18 % of protein in it.
  • In summer and rainy season we need to feed the Sheep with dry fodder.

For an Adult Sheep

  • If the availability of the pastures is good in the housing, then we need to supply concentrate mixture.
  • If the animals are suffering with poor grazing conditions, then we need to supply the Sheep with the concentrate mixture of about 150 – 350 grams for a Sheep in a day. This will also depend in lactation, pregnancy, and age.
  • For an adult Sheep we need to supply the digestible crude protein level of the concentrate mixture of about 12 %.

Non-Pregnant Sheep

  • If the availability of the pastures is good in the housing, then we need to supply a concentrate mixture.
  • If the animals are suffering with poor grazing conditions, then we need to supply the Sheep with the concentrate mixture of about 150 – 200 grams.
Non-Pregnent Sheep Grazing.
Non-Pregnent Sheep Grazing.

Pregnant Sheep

(Up to 4 months of the pregnancy)

  • We need to feed the sheep with good quality of pasture for every 4 – 5 hours in a day.
  • The ration which is provided for the sheep should be of green fodders @ 5 kg per sheep in a day.

Read: Frequently Asked Questions About Goat Farming.

(Last month of pregnancy)

  • We should feed them with the concentrate mixture @ 250 – 350 grams for a sheep in a day.
  • The ration of the sheep should be feed with available green fodder @ 7 kg per sheep in a day.

Feed Rams for Breeding process

  • The rams should be practiced to eat along with the ewes.
  • In such condition the rams and ewes will get same ratio.
  • This will help in meeting the nutritional requirement of the ram.

Feeding of Ewes from Lamb-weaning till flushing:

  • The Ewes should be maintained completely on the pastures.
  • As it is a critical period, so we need to feed them with the nutrients that are required for the sheep.

Sheep Feed Formulation

The Feed which is fed to the Sheep should formulate and also should contain these nutrients. They are:

NutrientsHayProtein SupplyBarley
    Molybdenum2.0 g0 g2.0 g
Manganese61.5 g400 g25.9 g
Selenium0.07 g0.1 g0.1 g
Copper5.0 g2.0 g12.0 g
Zinc25.3 g25 g51.1 g


NutrientsHay (%)Protein Supply (%)Barley (%)
Crude Protein12.23211.5

Sheep Feed Composition:

  • Wheat bran: 10 %
  • Maize: 40 %
  • Deoiled rice bran: 13 %
  • Salt: 1 %
  • Mineral mixture: 2 %
  • Molasses: 5%
  • Ground nut cake: 30%

Sheep Feed Cost:

On an avaerage, the sheep food costs about  $1000 to 1200/- in a year.

Note: For information you can concern nearby sheep farmers and also the animal husbandry department.

Read: Goat Farming In India.


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