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Author Topic: Best bedding?  (Read 442 times)

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Best bedding?
« on: January 22, 2020, 03:29:07 pm »
Apologies for more questions - I promise I search past posts first!!

I need to get some straw for bedding when the sheep come in for lambing. I thought straw was straw but the person I’m looking to buy from has given me one price for wheat and one a little more expensive for barley. It suggests barley is better, but would wheat be okay?! It’s only for housing them, not for eating!
Voss Electric Fence

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Best bedding?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2020, 04:24:46 pm »
Wheat straw will be fine its not quite as absorbent as barley but fine for bedding you can also use fine sand , sawdust ,shredded paper . Just make sure the straw looks bright and not mouldy you can normally tell by the weight eg mouldy & damp are heavy and don't break up easily , good quality bright barley straw will happily be eaten by the sheep when bedding

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Best bedding?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2020, 06:27:15 pm »
I’d go with the barley straw, it will be more absorbent than the wheat straw and gives a softer bed for baby lambs

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Best bedding?
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2020, 09:18:26 pm »
Maybe I should’ve done a poll  :D

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Best bedding?
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2020, 10:14:37 pm »
Wheat straw will be fine for bedding for lambing, but the sheep will also eat clean barley straw. You pays your money and you takes your choice ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Best bedding?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2020, 09:08:19 am »
wheat straw tends to lie a bit flatter and can compace quicker and barley is a bit more fluffy and I find I use less of it. Straw length is another issue to watch out for. Sometimes longer straw moves around a lot, the sheep ruck it up and it becomes hard to walk through. Shorter lengths tend to stay where they are meant to.

As others have said, be careful of dusty bales, or bales that are full of weeds. Most people want you to be happy with what you buy from them and want you to come back, so tell the person selling what you want to use it for and they will advise. :)

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Best bedding?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2020, 10:38:46 am »
be careful of bales that are full of weeds.

Actually, seeing a bit of green in there is a big plus to me.  Means they didn't cover the crop in weedkiller before harvesting ;).  And, given that the sheep will eat it... ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Best bedding?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2020, 10:44:30 am »
The floor in the shed is concrete. Would you lime it first and then straw it out? Do you keep liming and strawing, building up layers, until you’ve finished using the area? How deep should the straw be? I’m thinking of getting around 12 small bales but thinking about it I’m not sure if this would be enough...

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Best bedding?
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2020, 10:59:37 am »
The floor in the shed is concrete. Would you lime it first and then straw it out? Do you keep liming and strawing, building up layers, until you’ve finished using the area? How deep should the straw be? I’m thinking of getting around 12 small bales but thinking about it I’m not sure if this would be enough...


If you have a tractor to clean it out then it can go as deep as you want. But it obviously gets harder to muck out by hand the more you let it build up.


For lambing though I try to clean out and disinfect before the first lambs are born, then fortnightly after that. The individual pens are cleaned out between each occupant.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Best bedding?
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2020, 03:26:25 pm »
In most years, with healthy ewes who have plenty of milk, and decent weather so you can get all families out within 24-36 hours tops, you would get away with freshening the pen between ewes a couple of times before needing to completely clear, lime and re-bed. 

But the problem is that you usually don't know that it isn't going to be "most years" until you are in the middle of it, the weather is vile and you can't get ewes and lambs out; urine, birth fluids and spilled drinking water are spreading germs from pen to pen; the lambs start getting watery mouth because they are in pens which weren't disinfected and everyone has been in longer than expected...  Yes, you are hearing a real life story here!!

So, as you are new to it and really don't want to be giving yourselves problems that could have been easily avoided, I would plan to have every ewe in a freshly-cleaned, limed and strawed pen.  You might use a bit more straw and lime than you really needed, but you are much less likely to get problems - and if you do, you will know it was not through mismanagement or penny-pinching, but just that bad luck that befalls us all some years.

How many ewes are you talking, and what system? [Eg, lambing indoors, pen when lambed; lambing outdoors, only bring in families who need it; or what?)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Best bedding?
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2020, 05:36:13 pm »
A layer of sand /sawdust with the straw on top keeps   the straw dry and makes cleaning easier after as straw sticks to concrete . For individual pens you can buy cubicle powder ( designed for dairy cows ) which kills bugs but is less caustic than lime

 

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