Nutrition Guidelines for Sheep


Nutrient requirements of sheep vary greatly throughout their lives and depending on the production system that you are dealing with. A growing lamb has tremendously different requirements than a ewe that is not set to lamb for 2 months, or a ewe that is nursing triplets. Please keep in mind that these are VERY general recommendations and that your particular production system may require different feeding strategies. 

Also remember that forages (hays, haylages, pastures etc) vary greatly between farms, within farms and between seasons. A good forage analysis is necessary in order to make informed decisions with regards to feeding recommendations. 

Groups to consider: 

1) Ewe: Non-Lactating early pregnancy a. 3-4 lbs grass hay, no grain required 

2) Ewe: Late Gestation with Multiples a. 4-5 lbs avg quality hay or pasture, b. ½-1 lbs of grain supplement c. If feeding grass hay will need to supplement protein and Calcium 

3) Ewe: Early lactation Nursing Multiples a. 4-5 lbs alfalfa hay (good quality) or pasture b. 1lbs grain supplement 

4) Lambs 1-4 months a. 18 % protein creep ration 

5) Lambs 4-7 months a. ½ lbs good quality hay or pasture/100 lbs body weight b. 14-16% protein creep ration 

Rams are quite low maintenance animals but can be included in the flushing group at breeding time. 

Remember to only introduce grain/supplements at ¼ lbs (125 g) intervals in order to prevent rumen acidosis. 

Flushing refers to increasing the feed/energy provided to ewes for 2 weeks prior to breeding and for 3 weeks during the breeding season. This can be a simple and effective way of increasing the numbers of pregnancies in these ewes.