Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Feeding wethers  (Read 472 times)

LornaB

  • Joined Oct 2020
Feeding wethers
« on: October 25, 2020, 04:14:17 pm »
Hello. I'm a brand new accidental smallholder! I have just bought 4 lovely Herdwick wethers to help keep on top of the grass which is too much for my horses. I intend to keep them as pets, not to eat and would like to give them a small morsel of something to eat, just a handful, to try to tame them a bit and get them used to me. I understand the whole, urinary calculi issue with boys so was wondering what would be the best feed to buy them. I've read up about the calcium to phosphate level and ammonium chloride additive to help prevent this.
I've done an Internet search for wether feeds or tup feeds, but it still just brings up ewe and lamb feeds etc.  Can someone just recommend a brand to me and help me out?!

Many thanks in advance,

Lorna

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Feeding wethers
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2020, 03:12:01 pm »
Ewe&lamb is fine for wethers, however you could always try something like carrot sticks or apple slices. It is unlikely that they will ever need a porper concentrate feed, just hay/straw over winter (being Herdwicks), so something they take from your hand may be appropriate?


Also - if you don't have any other sheep that would need concentrate feed, buying a bag of 25kgs of sheep mix is probably not appropriate - it will go stale and/or mouldy before you are even halfway through.

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Feeding wethers
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2020, 03:50:40 pm »
I would feed them lamb pellets if your having problems getting a ram nut. Just make sure the bags have a long use by date on them as it doesn't sound like you'll need many!

I don't think wethers will need feeding any concerntrate over winter for their condition. Just hay/haylage if the grass runs out. They will get very fat over the summers so better to let their condition drop over the witner months to compensate (within reason).

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Feeding wethers
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2020, 09:51:46 pm »
Yes they will get fat just on grass and hay without any concentrate, so once you have them tamed it would be better to feed something like a slice of apple now and again. 

If you do want some feed for them, Champion Tup & Lamb is fine for all male sheep, and most "all stock" feeds are fine for wethers. 

We now feed all our herbivores Dengie grass pellets, so that might be another option.  Your horses could eat the rest of the sack ;)
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Feeding wethers
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2020, 10:39:52 pm »
You'll probably find that biscuits go down well too. I have also seen a sheep eat a banana skin  (goats love them).

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Feeding wethers
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2020, 10:47:34 pm »
I'm with Sally on this, just give them a small amount of grass pellets from your hand.  When I had to get rid of my small flock of fleece wethers at 7 years old (family illness) I sent them to the butcher and was amazed at how fat they were, just from eating grass and hay in the winter.  Being too fat is bad for wethers and can cause sudden death if excessive.  Grass pellets will rattle nicely in a bucket to attract them but will not make them fat.
You could also try willow branches, or a handful of cow parsley leaves or brassica leaves as treats.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

   Five Freedoms
   # Freedom from Hunger and Thirst.
   # Freedom from Discomfort.
   # Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease.
   # Freedom to Express Normal Behavior.
   # Freedom from Fear and Distress

Possum

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • Somerset
Re: Feeding wethers
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2020, 06:31:13 pm »
In order to tame them I would start with lamb finisher nuts. Just because most young sheep find them very hard to resist and a couple of handfuls each will finish a sackful before it reaches its "use by" date.


As you start to get to the end of the sack start feeding them tasty vegetation. They are surprisingly keen on ivy, however old it is. If you still have elm near you they enjoy the leaves, ditto elder leaves. I tried mine with slices of overgrown courgettes this year and they couldn't get enough of them. :)


One they associate you with nice food the possibilities are endless!

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Feeding wethers
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2020, 06:46:02 pm »
However, please do always insist on them treating you with respect.  If they push or jump or barge, do not give them any food. 

Never rub them on the top or front of their heads, this can develop into butting games, which later on become less like games and more like bullying.  If you want to give them some fuss, behind the ears and under the chin are the places that are safe to fondle. 

Wethers are generally less dangerous than rams, but an undisciplined full-grown wether who thinks you should give him a treat can, nonetheless, be dangerous, and we have to tell three or four people every year to send their pet off to the abattoir. 
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Feeding wethers
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2020, 10:31:34 pm »
They are surprisingly keen on ivy, ditto elder leaves.

I wouldn't feed elder leaves - the whole plant contains Cyanogenetic glycosides, in other words a chemical which turns into Cyanide and causes illness in sheep, or death if a lot is ingested.  I think the odd nibble is fine but best to avoid it.  Willow is best of all. 
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

   Five Freedoms
   # Freedom from Hunger and Thirst.
   # Freedom from Discomfort.
   # Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease.
   # Freedom to Express Normal Behavior.
   # Freedom from Fear and Distress

 

feeding/worming

Started by langdon

Replies: 4
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Last post November 08, 2009, 10:18:06 pm
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