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Author Topic: Sheep not eating?  (Read 7807 times)

smee2012

  • Joined Sep 2012
Sheep not eating?
« on: February 27, 2014, 02:06:05 pm »
I'm slightly concerned that my sheep aren't eating! Out fields are badly poached due to the weather and so they've been getting hay since about December. They've also been having about 600g of nuts between them (there are four of them, all hopefully pregnant). We've used up all our old supply of hay an bought some more at the weekend, from a different supplier. None of the sheep will touch it! It's been four days now and not a speck of it has been eaten. They appear to be starving, standing at the gate and shouting. Why won't they eat the new hay? It's good quality stuff, not dusty, damp or musty. I can't for the life of me understand why they won't eat it, when they are obviously hungry?
I'm a bit worried about them losing condition prior to lambing - they have 6-8 weeks to go (as far as we can tell from the tup visit). Anything I can do to encourage them to eat?
Voss Electric Fence

kelly58

  • Joined Mar 2013
  • Highlands, Scotland
  • Home is were my animals are.
Re: Sheep not eating?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2014, 02:13:26 pm »
Can you get some hay from another source just to see if its the hay ? My goats get fussy like that sometimes.
Just make sure they eat their concentrate meantime.  :thumbsup:

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Sheep not eating?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2014, 02:35:29 pm »
I'd get some more hay from somewhere else too.  Is it a different texture? (more stemmy maybe?)  how does it smell?


You could also try lacing it with molasses, they might eat it then.  But really you shouldn't have to.


If you can't get them to eat it take it back to your supplier and get a refund or if they have any different hay, a replacement.

smee2012

  • Joined Sep 2012
Re: Sheep not eating?
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2014, 02:52:25 pm »
It is a bit more coarse stemmed than the last lot, but is exactly the same sort of texture as the hay they had the year before! We also just mowed a strip of the lawn am taken the cuttings down to the field but they won't eat that either!

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Sheep not eating?
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2014, 03:03:03 pm »
If they wont eat fresh mown grass or hay I would guess they are not hungry!

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Sheep not eating?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2014, 05:46:06 pm »
We bought hay last year from a farm. Great. Last lot that OH collected from the same place seemed okay he thought but the sheep wouldn't touch it. We had no grass by then and they are primitives so only getting small amount of concentrate. I was concerned as they were in lamb. When I checked the hay I thought it had a slightly musty smell. Collected some bales from another farm and they tucked straight in.

Do your sheep know something that you don't? Worth trying some bales from elsewhere?

ScotsGirl

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • Wiltshire
Re: Sheep not eating?
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2014, 06:32:58 pm »
I had a ewe that had lambed and would not eat her nuts or hay. Must have starved best part of a week before I got her a mineral drench from Scats at great expense. One dose of that and she scoffed her food.  However she will only eat coarse mix and won't touch the sheep nuts. Loves haylage but will eat hay now


She must have been lacking something.

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Sheep not eating?
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2014, 06:54:10 pm »
An option would be to send some hay for analysis?
iv never know an anything to refuse the small bales of haylage we get here, so maybe get some different stuff.

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Sheep not eating?
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2014, 07:24:21 pm »
If the hay is new seeds, I find my sheep are very loathe to eat it. It's relished by cattle and can be well made but it doesn't have the attractive smell of soft meadow hay, and is stalky and they just don't like it.
At this stage of pregnancy - don't mess about, but get something they will eat. Smell the hay yourself before you buy. It should smell really sweet and almost good enough to eat yourself. If it doesn't smell attractive or has no smell at all then don't buy it. If it doesn't smell good to you then it won't smell good to the sheep and they'll end up wasting it.
 You should not be feeding sheep on concentates alone. Without adequate roughage you will get the wrong type of fermentation in the rumen and they will end up with acidosis.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Sheep not eating?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2014, 07:37:18 pm »
Yup, sheep are a lot wiser than they're given credit for.  As has been said, watch for acidosis.  I start feeding cake at 50g a head twice a day for a week, to introduce the new feed very gradually.

smee2012

  • Joined Sep 2012
Re: Sheep not eating?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2014, 09:18:47 pm »
Well it looks like they're eating it now. We checked earlier this evening and they'd scoffed the grass and then started on the hay.
The hay is timothy/meadow fescue/rye/clover hay, from established grass, not newly seeded. It has been stored undercover, looks and smells like good hay should. The ONLY difference I can tell is that the stalks seem slightly coarser than the last lot they had (which actually wasn't that great, as hay goes).
Hopefully, now they've had some, they'll continue to eat it. We do have a little grass in the fields, just not really enough to sustain them without supplementary hay.
I'll keep my fingers crossed!  :fc:

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Sheep not eating?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2014, 09:52:03 pm »
So they weren't hungry  :innocent:

smee2012

  • Joined Sep 2012
Re: Sheep not eating?
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2014, 10:05:39 pm »
Normally they wolf their hay down the minute they've finished their nuts, but for three days they've not touched it, just stood at the gate and shouted. Maybe they were just a bit suspicious of it being new (and therefore automatically SCARY!)

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Sheep not eating?
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2014, 09:27:15 am »
When I switch between batches of hay I mix the two together for a couple of days, which helps to prevent the sheep rejecting the new stuff "cos it's different".

Daisys Mum

  • Joined May 2009
  • Scottish Borders
Re: Sheep not eating?
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2014, 01:04:17 pm »
Last 2 days have been sunny here so my girls are away grazing and not interested in the hay?
Anne

 

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