Supplementing Sheep in Dry Years.
The last couple of years have not been kind with rainfall. With the dry conditions and poorer harvests, there has been a drop in available grain feed. Poor harvests mean poor stubbles, and these are generally lacking in nutritive quality from the dry finish. As stubbles are usually a primary source of summer feed, it’s vital to feed additional supplements to ensure your stock’s optimal health. We should be looking to supply nutrients that stock haven’t been able to get through grazing with the use of stock blocks or other supplements. As the past few years have proven, there is good financial value in healthy livestock.
We’ve seen a lot of popularity in Rod’s Dry Feed Urea Blocks, as well as their Ewe and Lamb Blocks. Over summer the Dry Feed Urea and Peak 50 blocks are an excellent mineral supplement for sheep on dry stubbles, as they maximize utilization of poorer quality feed. They also contain a balanced combination of urea and natural proteins which stimulates the microflora in the rumen, this helps to increase appetite and feed conversion efficiency. They also provide a balance of essential vitamins, minerals and trace elements necessary for healthy growth. Another common practice is mixing salt and lime, and sometimes molasses, to make a form of a loose lick. This provides a few basic nutrients, such as calcium and sodium. We also recommend adding Causmag, or Magnesium Oxide, to help with magnesium deficiencies – but only around lambing.
Ewes and lambs:
For lambing ewes, we’ve seen impressive results with Rod’s Ewe and Lamb Blocks and the lick product from Compass Feeds called Magforce.
Magforce provides ewes in lamb with great essential minerals before and during lambing. It contains a combination of Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin E and other Macro and Trace elements that are required in high amounts by ewes during these times. Ideally, it should be supplied six weeks before lambing and right through to weaning. We recommend taking flocks off of magnesium products outside of these periods. It is best put out in tubs or trays as it’s a loose lick supplement. It’s perfect for lambs, pre-lambing ewes and lactating ewes where higher levels of magnesium are needed. Magnesium is an important component of cerebrospinal fluid, the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord and is essential for the transmission of signals throughout the animal’s body.
We also have a good range of products for finishing lambs, by either topping them up with additional feed or for feedlot situations. When the dry conditions have caused pastures to have a very low protein content, a supplementary feed may be required to finish the lambs off in good nick.
We sell all these products in store, plus a wide variety of other lick blocks, so come in and see what would be best for your flock.
Remember, it’s important to try and get the stubbles to last as long as possible to ensure there is enough feed to continue through to autumn. Periodically allow them to graze, and rotate paddocks and supplementary feed if needed.