NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Feeding my Ram  (Read 9889 times)

Richfergy

  • Joined Apr 2012
Feeding my Ram
« on: November 19, 2012, 08:11:20 pm »
Hi - I am keen not to let my Ram lose too much condition during tupping - he has been in for 14 days so far, on reasonable grass and hay if he wants it.  I am feeding the ewes some ewe nuts to supplement them but have read that these should not be fed to the Ram?? (so I distract him whilst they are scoffing)
Can anyone help - what should I feed him or is there something I can feed them both
Thanks for any help
Richard
Voss Electric Fence

onnyview

  • Joined Dec 2009
    • onnyview free range produce
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2012, 08:20:45 pm »
Most rams when in with their ladies are far to busy to be thinking about food. Doesn't matter what you offer him, he may not want or take in enough food to keep his condition. He will make up for it during the other 9 months of the year. Just make sure you look after him during those times and he'll be fine (as long as he has all his teeth!).
 
Rams can develop uriniary calculi due to certain minerals in ewe nuts and some course feeds. Most feed manufactures produce a ram mix which will be lower in these minerals to prevent any blockages of his widdle tract.
 
If you have a handful of ewes, good grass and you give him a mineral/vitamin drench lick you might not need any concentrates anyhoo.
Onnyview free range produce- Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs, Hill Radnor and Llanwenog sheep.

www.onnyview.moonfruit.com

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2012, 09:17:26 pm »
are sugar beet pellets ok for both rams and ewes as an alternative, my borrowed ram came with a sack of them (his owners are soooo sweet!) and I just put a few out and they all hoovered them up, but dont know if they are ideal / ok for rams.

Big Benny Shep

  • Joined Mar 2011
  • Skipton
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2012, 09:27:45 pm »
i heard that sugar beet pellets are not good for tups - i fed them to mine all last winter! only feed tup ration now just to be safe  :fc:
BIG Ben
We have 80(ish) texels and texel x suffolks, 10 lleyns, 21NE Mules, 2 Dexters with calves, Monty the labrador, Dottie, Bracken and Poppy the collies and 30 assorted hens.

onnyview

  • Joined Dec 2009
    • onnyview free range produce
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2012, 09:44:09 pm »
Other than carbohydrate I cannot see what advantage pellets would be on their own. I do feed some pellets in a mix for show/sale sheep to make them fatter. If you had a lean mean lamb making machine, there are probably better things to feed him on. Bit like feeding your dog just mixer biscuit as opposed to complete dog feed.
Onnyview free range produce- Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs, Hill Radnor and Llanwenog sheep.

www.onnyview.moonfruit.com

colliewoman

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Pilton
  • Caution! May spontaneously talk rabbits!
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2012, 09:53:12 pm »
I know I am uber paranoid about it at the mo, but please be careful feeding unsoaked beet pellets.
I watched my favourite ewe choke to death last week after she got sugar beet pellets stuck and they swelled to block her oesophagus. The vet, my husband, myself and all the kit could not save her :'(
I know it is a one in thousands chance, but when I does happen it is nightmarish to watch :gloomy:


But they DO like it soaked mixed with a bit of rolled wheat!
Hurrah! cos up till this week I couldn't ever get my sheep to eat it soaked ::)
We'll turn the dust to soil,
Turn the rust of hate back into passion.
It's not water into wine
But it's here, and it's happening.
Massive,
but passive.


Bring the peace back

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2012, 02:55:34 am »
Most feed suppliers do a 'Tup & Lamb' mix which would be safe for all; it's usually fairly high energy (and price) but with a small flock it won't add up to too much to feed them all on it just for the duration of tupping.  Or if the tup is pretty tame you can probably feed the Tup & Lamb to him from a bucket while the girls eat their nuts off the ground.

Some suppliers also do a lower energy (16%) stock blend which is safe for tups - check with the supplier.  For instance, Jim Peet's Stockblend 321 is safe for all stock - cattle, sheep (both female and male), and won't hurt any other livestock either.  (Cattle and goats would need additional copper if fed this cake.)

He'll probably eat normally after the first 17 days anyway, after a couple of checks around each day for any ewes returning to him. 

A tup with 50 ewes on a hill farm certainly does need caking while working, but as onnyview says, with only a few girls to see to, your boy shouldn't be running himself ragged anyway.
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

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2012, 07:45:09 am »
Thankyou for letting me know about the sugar beet (didnt want to hijack but thought it might be useful for OP too). Not sure what to do with the rest of the bag now, will try and get him something more suitable (and hide the bag when they come to take him home) :-)))

jaykay

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2012, 08:39:52 am »
I'm feeding my ewes a coarse ewe mix and the tup is having the odd bite of it - I can't see it's going to do him any harm the amount he's getting.

He's also eating hay, once he's paraded up and down the rack and made sure no-one is requiring his attentions for the next 10 minutes  :D

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2012, 09:36:41 am »
One of the things they say, jaykay, to avoid problems in tups and wethers eating the ewes' ration, is to make sure there's always plenty of water available.  Not a problem at your place!  :D  Especially if you have a salt lick too, so he can lick on at that and get a good thirst up, then drink plenty of water to flush everything through.

I just went searching for the good info that has been posted on this subject before.  Heygates have a really good info page here.

From the Heygates sheet, one of the key things is that the cake should have a calcium:phosphorous ratio of at least 2:1 and should have no added magnesium.  If the ingredients list includes Ammonium Chloride, it's probably fine for tups and wethers.

It's worth reiterating that this problem is actually even more likely to occur in castrated males than in entire ones. 

I'm sure I remember someone talking about something simple that could be added to the tup's ration to make sure he had no problems, and I couldn't find that one.  Anyone remember?
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

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2012, 02:19:11 pm »
My rams all know what a bucket is and they get pelleted beet, but not in any significant quantity. Throughout the year, I may remind them what a bucket is, but thats it. I mostly use it for when they are in with the ewes and I want to do a quick count on when they are tupped. I think if you want lambs that can do on grass, it is important to have tups that can get through the most of the year on it too (snow-covered scottish mountains excepted, but then - do people feed blackie tups of the non showring variety?)

Richfergy

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2012, 05:10:02 pm »
Thanks all - as usual some great insights and advice!!  :)
I was looking at the Heygate website - will try and get a mixed feed asap and supplement as appropriate - as you say Sally - he is about through the worst I hope!! lol
Cheers again - really really helpful - as someone else commented somehwere - alot to learn!! :-)
Rich

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2012, 06:28:16 pm »
do people feed blackie tups of the non showring variety?
If they want to them to live past tupping, yes, they will. 

A Blackie or Swaley tup on the hill / moorland will often be covering a square mile or more of very very rough terrain, and may have 50 - 100 ewes to cover (or often, several square miles and several 00s of ewes will be covered by several tups.)  These tups really work for those 34 days, and often won't stop to eat except if/when the shepherd comes along with the daily 1-2lb of cake.  Sometimes it'll be two feeds, it depends on the dedication and workload of the shepherd.  Most hill shepherds like to gather the ewes around the tup(s) twice a day, to give him maximum chance of finding ewes that are ready.  Some of the tups won't eat even then, and will lose an enormous amount of condition until they give in and come feed.  I only ever had one, a Blue-faced Leicester and one that had seen a good few seasons on another farm before he came to us, too, who wouldn't feed at all during tupping.  But you could only leave him out for one cycle, for that reason.

Generally the tups will be fed from a few weeks (should be 6, really) before tupping, to ensure maximum sperm production, through tupping and for at least 6 weeks after to put the condition back on them.
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
  • Argyll
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2012, 06:48:45 pm »
7 rams 4 ram lambs texel working , 10 cheviots out to hill end of month , min 55 ewes max 80 ewes each  grass only before and during tupping , silage after ,should be min C S 2 when finished working . I only buy privately from 3 different places all grass reared rams , haven't bought at auction for years and  KELSO for 20 yrs .   When i used Blue Faced Leicesters they had to be fed all the time to keep them alive , rams fed hard almost from birth of any breed ( even  B F ) have to be fed or they will fail . :raining:

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Feeding my Ram
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2012, 06:54:33 pm »
Interesting....  :thinking:

Mind, we're wanting to breed lambs that'll fatten fast to get them to supermarket requirements at an early age - for which a little cake is needed.  We don't feed 'em hard, but they don't get the top grades without a bit of cake to put the muscle on.
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

 

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