Sheep Feed Chart and Weight Chart

Introduction to Sheep weight chart and Sheep feed chart

Sheep is species of domesticated ruminant or cud-chewing mammal, raised for its meat, milk, and wool. It gives a dependable source of income to the shepherds through the sale of wool and animals. Then, they play an important role in the livelihood of a large percentage of small and marginal farmers and landless laborers engaged in sheep rearing.

A step by step guide to Sheep feed chart and weight

Nutrition plays a main role in the overall productivity, health, and well-being of the sheep flock. Because feed costs account for about two-thirds of the total cost of production on most sheep farms. Nutrient requirements of sheep vary with age, body weight, and stage of production. The five main categories of nutrients required by sheep are; 1) water; 2) energy; 3) protein; 4) vitamins; and 5) minerals. During the grazing season, sheep can meet nutrient requirements from pasture and salt and mineral supplement. Hay is provided to the flock when forages are limited, and grain can be added to the diet at certain stages of production when additional nutrient supplementation is necessary. Small grain pastures or stockpiled fescue can supply up to one-half of the feed requirements of the ewe flock during the winter season. During the grazing season, pastures of mixed grass, alfalfa, and turnip serve as excellent sources of nutrition for growing lambs. A source of clean and fresh water is provided to sheep at all times.

Feeds for Sheep

Feeds for Sheep.
Feeds for Sheep


Permanent pasture must be the predominant source of nutrition for the sheep flock. Though, intensive sheep production systems where the sheep are housed and fed harvested feeds are not as profitable as more extensive production systems. When a sufficient quantity of forage is obtainable, sheep can meet their nutrient requirements with a supplemental source of salt and minerals. Clover must be overseeded on permanent pastures in the winter to improve the quantity and quality of forage produced during the grazing season. Sheep prefer to graze leafy, vegetative growth that is about 2 to 6 inches tall rather than stemmy, more mature forages. Pasture growth is not distributed evenly throughout the year.


Average or poor quality hay must be fed during gestation, leaving the higher quality hay to be fed during lactation. As protein requirements of the ewe increase after lambing, less protein supplementation from concentrate feeds is necessary when higher quality hay is used. Second-cutting, mixed grass-clover hay can be more economical to feed to the ewe flock than alfalfa hay. This is especially true if alfalfa hay should be purchased from off the farm. Alfalfa hay is an excellent feed for sheep and is best used during lactation when ewes need more protein to promote higher levels of milk production. Many producers have fed alfalfa hay to gestating ewes with good results.


Corn silage is a high energy, and low protein fermented feed suitable for sheep feeding. However, some guidelines must be followed when incorporating corn silage in ewe and lamb diets. As with any silage fed to sheep, listeriosis (circling disease) can be a concern and listeria is a bacterium that is present in the soil. Feeding improperly fermented silage to sheep is the main source of the organism. Consider the below tips when feeding silages;

  • Avoid feeding the top layer of silage from an upright silo;
  • Avoid moldy and spoiled silage;
  • Avoid starting all sheep at one time from one silo, and then introduce silage gradually;
  • Provide adequate quality and quantity of water;
  • And avoid overcrowding and bed sheep well in wet conditions;
  • Complete vaccination programs well in advance of a given silage feeding;
  • Follow the proper sanitary or isolation procedures with replacement and sick animals.


When additional energy and protein are required, corn and soybean meal form the basis of the grain portion of the diet. Though, when justified by supply or price, other grains may replace all or part of the corn and soybean meal in a diet.

Estimates of daily feed needs of sheep (in pounds)

 HayHaylageCorn silageGrainProtein supplements
Ewe( 150 lbs)     
Early gestation2.5-47-88-9
Late gestation4-59-1010-110.5-1.01/8-1/4
Ram(250 lbs)4-78-1011-151.0-2.50-1/4
Feeder lambs (30-110 lbs)0.5-22-41.0-3.51/4-1/2

How to calculate Sheep weight

Use this guide to determine the weight of livestock sheep;

1. Measure the circumference of the animal and make sure to measure girth about the location of the animal’s heart. On a sheep, ensure an accurate measurement by compressing the sheep’s wool so that the circumference reflects that of the body and does not contain that of the body plus the wool.

2. Measure the length of the animal’s body.

3. Using the measurements from steps 1 and 2, calculate the bodyweight of sheep using the formula HEART GIRTH x HEART GIRTH x BODY LENGTH / 300 = ANIMAL WEIGHT IN POUNDS.

If a sheep has a heart girth equal to about 35 inches and a body length equal to 30 inches, the calculation of the weight of sheep is (35 x 35 x 30) / 300 = 122 lbs

Supplementary feeding and feed budgeting for sheep

Supplementary feeding of sheep, with grain, hay, and silage is necessary when pastures are deficient in energy and protein. A good supplementary feeding program will ensure sheep utilize as much dry paddock feed as possible as well as give sufficient supplementary feed for maintenance or growth. It is the supply of additional feed such as grain, hay, and silage to sheep grazing pasture or stubble that is lacking in energy. In the summer and autumn season, supplementary feeding often becomes substitution feeding where sheep choose to eat the added feed rather than that available in the paddock.

Where pasture or stubble ground cover is less than 50%, where wind erosion is likely, recommend feeding in stable confined areas or feedlots. In this case, the ‘supplementary’ feed becomes the full ration and it aims to meet the nutritional requirements of different classes of sheep. It is important to prevent excessive live weight loss during the dry pasture phase in weaners and pregnant ewes.

Why supplementary feed?

Sheep are supplementary fed during late summer, autumn and early winter too;

  • Reduce grazing pressure on pastures that are near to minimum groundcover levels for control erosion
  • Improve utilization of existing dry pasture where dry pasture is nonlimiting
  • Meet the sheep’s energy and protein requirements
  • Then, improve the production of meat or wool to achieve targets
  • Reduce the grazing pressure on establishing pastures to ensure that pasture growth rates are optimized in the winter season.

Feeding methods for sheep as per chart

Feeding sheep for maintenance can be carried out in the paddock as a supplement to pastures, or as a complete ration in the paddock or a confined area. Rations are generally in the form of whole grain, hay, pellets, or a mix of these feeds. The grain and roughage portions of a ration can be offered together in a trough or the grain in troughs or on the ground and the hay on the ground, or preferably, in a hayrack.

Feeding frequency as per Sheep feed chart

When introducing a feed to sheep, feed every day. After this introductory period, the ration can be fed out less frequently. If sheep are fed daily each feed amount is small and dominant animals will eat more than their share at the expense of smaller animals.

After the introduction program leading up to a survival or maintenance ration, sheep must be fed at these intervals;

  • Dry sheep – twice weekly or weekly
  • Ewes in late pregnancy – every second day
  • Lactating ewes means after lambing has finished – twice weekly
  • Early weaned lambs – feed and lib until they reach 20kg live weight, and then feed every second day.

If possible, feed the roughage before the grain so that all sheep get roughage. This reduces the risk of hungry sheep overeating grain resulting in acidosis.

Feed chart of meat productive, pregnant sheep and mother sheep are shown below;

Meat productive sheep feed chart (in percentage)

Maize Powder – 40

Dried Molasses – 5

Wheat Roughage – 10

Cake – 9

Dried Grasses – 36

Pregnant sheep feed chart (in percentage)

Barley – 50

Maize, Dried Molasses, Soybean Cake – 5-10

Maize Cylage – 20-30

Dried Grasses – 20

Mother sheep feed chart (in percentage)

Dried Grasses – 80

Barley (60%), Maize (25%), Wheat Roughage (0.25%) – 20

The importance of proper nutrition for sheep

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The importance of proper nutrition for sheep.
The importance of proper nutrition for sheep

When labor and fuel for feed delivery, equipment, and feed costs are combined, nutrition represents the largest cost in sheep production. A producer ought to know the animal’s nutritional requirements during the different phases of production, the nutrient composition of available feedstuffs, and how to provide the obtainable feedstuffs to meet the animal’s requirements. Nutrition must be managed to support optimal health, be efficient and economical, and should minimize the potential for nutrition-related problems.

Forms of sheep feed

Sheep feed comes in three forms or a combination of all forms;

  • Pelleted sheep feed has the ingredients milled and then formed into pellets.
  • Sweet feed is feed in the form of fresh grains plus pellets.
  • Block feed for sheep has the ingredients milled and formed into solid blocks.

Feed nutrients and water requirements for sheep;

The main nutrients required by sheep are energy, protein, minerals, and water.

Water-Water is necessary for the proper functioning of the body as it is more vital for the maintenance of animal life than any other feed component.  It is the major constituent of all body tissues and helps in the excretion of waste products through faeces and urine.  Body water plays an important role in the animal’s thermoregulatory mechanism.  Most of the water requirement is satisfied by the water in the feed when green feed is available.  Water intake is highly correlated with air temperature and absolute humidity.

Energy – The soluble carbohydrates, fiber, fats, and oils are the sources of energy for sheep.  Such energy is used to produce heat to keep the body warm and to keep it cool through evapotranspiration, and give energy for physical activities and other life processes.  The carbohydrates are required for the growth and development of rumen micro-organisms.  In their body weight both under stall feeding and then grazing conditions.  Lambs achieve satisfactory growth rate at a dry-matter intake level of about 4 to 5 percent of body weight.  Different systems are in vogue all over the world to express the energy requirements.

Protein – It is the basic structural material of all the body tissues and constantly required for the regeneration of all the living tissues which are undergoing constant wear and tear.  The breeding animals require protein for prenatal growth, development of the foetus and produce milk for the post-natal growth of young ones.  Though, clean soured wool or keratin is almost a pure protein.  If the ration does not have enough energy, the protein will be used as an energy source.  But protein cannot be replaced by any other nutrient in the ration and protein deficiency causes reduced feed intake and poor feed efficiency. This results in poor growth and development of muscle reduced reproductive efficiency and wool production.

Minerals – Minerals are required for the building and also maintenance of the skeleton and teeth.  The deficiency of any mineral will exhibit clinical symptoms and the role of the minerals in sheep nutrition is complicated.  Excess of some of them may result in poor feed intake, digestion, and utilization of minerals, and can even cause toxicity. The mineral deficiency symptoms are anorexia (reduced appetite), reduced gain or loss in body weight, abnormal hair or wool coat and skin dullness, bone deformation, staggering gait, and organ damage.  Calcium and phosphorus are required for bone formation and maintenance.

Vitamins – Vitamins are metabolically essential for sheep.  In sheep, vitamins are synthesized in their tissues and some by micro-organisms in their gastrointestinal tract. The symptoms of vitamin deficiencies are anorexia, reduced growth, weakness, and staggering gait.  In sheep vitamin A is important and its deficiency can cause various kinds of blindness.  Vitamin deficiency leads to abnormal bone development, weak and stillborn lambs, and respiratory problems.

Importance of feed testing

It is important to have your feed tested as nutrient levels vary depending on the quality of the feed. When planning your feed rations it is best to consult with your nutritionist using feed test results. This will ensure that you are adequately meeting the nutrient requirements of livestock during each stage of production.

Commonly asked questions about sheep feed and sheep weight chart

How much feed does a sheep need per day?

Sheep require a daily amount of about 1 gallon per 100 lbs of bodyweight.

Is a sheep farm profitable?

Profitability in sheep farming can be challenging, but with productive sheep and close control of expenses, a profit is possible. Sheep produce income in several ways like from the sale of meat, wool, and milk.

How much grain should feed to sheep?

Large amounts of grain will promote the growth of lactic acidic bacteria, which increases acidity in the rumen and can lead to acidosis. For sheep, a large amount of grain would be more than one pound per feeding. And, do not feed large quantities of finely ground grains.

What is the average weight of a sheep?

The average weight of male sheep is 45 – 160 kg and the average weight of female sheep is 45 – 100 kg

How can get sheep to gain weight?

Increase the amount of grain you feed the lamb by 1/8 to 1/4 pound over 3 or 4 days, on the same schedule, weighing out and splitting the total ration between 2 meals spaced 12 hours apart.

What do you call a female sheep?

An adult female sheep is called a ewe and an adult male sheep is called a ram. A sheep that is less than 1 year of age is known as a lamb.

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  1. We have extra sheep feed stored in bags on pallets in a good building. How long can we store it? It is pellets from a producer but no ” use by date” on the bags.
    Thank You


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