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Author Topic: Hay / Haylage & Lick  (Read 13159 times)

Fishyhaddock

  • Joined Apr 2009
  • aberdeenshire
Hay / Haylage & Lick
« on: November 25, 2010, 07:34:15 pm »
Hi there - it's our first winter with sheep - 2 wethers and 2 ewes (who will be returning from the tup soon). Snow is here and I have been reading a lot about ad hoc hay and a lick. Can anyone advise on type of lick and whether haylage is as good as hay / not. Would you advise to feed all the sheep the same or differently for the ewes that will hopefully be in lamb? Cheers.

pikilily

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Do what you enjoy; And enjoy what you do!!
Re: Hay / Haylage & Lick
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2010, 01:03:45 pm »
hello, FH!!  there are loads of very experienced folk here who will give you good advice, but in the interim...

If the ewes are due to go off to the tup soon. i think the idea is to 'flush' them ie give them a good feeding for a couple of weeks ( as long as they are not already too fat) on your best grass supplemented with a high energy lick (your feedmerchant will advise which one) If would suppose the wethers can eat with the ewes, otherwise it may be awkward to seperate them???  you dont waant the ewes too fat cos it can affect their fertility- you end up with singles, and potentially a more difficult lambing.
Oh btw- the lick will keep for later in the winter (later in the pregnancy)...two ewes wont eat it all in a couple of weeks before they go for their nuptuals.

If you dont want to get a lick, i think you can feed them a hard feed, bulked out with some molassed sugar beet. sheep can eat it unsoaked but i always soak it - habit cos of the horses!

If you are needing to give them hay, sheep like the softer hay. whereas horses prefer the courser hay..you would feel the difference if you get the chance to compare. thats not to say that sheep wont eat the courser stuff, or vise versa. I get two different types in, from experience of my sheep's preference.

I have never given my sheep haylage......mmmmm dont know the answer to that. i would wonder if it may bloat them cos of the fermentation process for haylage...someone will correct me!!  Also, normally haylage is more expensive!

Hope this helps a bit...until someone else can answer
Emma T
If you don't have a dream; how you gonna have a dream come true?

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Hay / Haylage & Lick
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2010, 04:57:23 pm »
Lots of people do feed haylage to sheep, and its OK for them as long as (just as with horses) it is sweet, sealed with no holes and no mould. More a concern in the shoulder period of autumn/spring where they might not eat it quick enough and the temps are higher; as long as the bag is sealed and it smells and looks nice they will do fine on it. But bear in mind some sheep just dont take to it.

Agree about them preferring soft hay, we buy in coarse stuff for the horses and make hay for the sheep and our own hay ismassively softer and pale green not straw colour. I tested the sheep by putting in a horse bale (which cost 3x as much) and they refused to eat it. The hay we made (and this was the first ever bale so it wasnt just they were used to it), they fell upon and devoured. Made me feel the effort was worthwhile to make the hay!

pikilily

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Do what you enjoy; And enjoy what you do!!
Re: Hay / Haylage & Lick
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2010, 07:22:54 pm »
thats good to know - the haylage bit !! thanks
L&M
If you don't have a dream; how you gonna have a dream come true?

Freddiesfarm

  • Joined Jan 2010
Re: Hay / Haylage & Lick
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2010, 11:42:27 am »
We feed hay when we just have a small number to feed eg the rams or small number of store lambs left over, but we don't feed the ewes unless there is serious snow for a long period or closer to lambing at which point they get haylage. 

Closer to lambing we put out a pre-lambing lick, or one with extra energy for the minerals etc when they are most needed.

Neither hay or haylage is "best" it is whatever suits your setup and with the numbers you are dealing with hay will probably be the best economically with little wastage.

The only other thing to consider is toxoplasmosis which can be caught by the sheep from hay which has had cats or foxes living in or around - we lost a couple of ewes as a result of this one year, but it is quite unusual - toxo normally results in general feeeling unwell for the sheep and can result in abortion or lambing deformities.  You can get your sheep tested for it if you think there might be an issue but at the moment you can't get the vaccine to cure it anyway!


charlestcat

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Hay / Haylage & Lick
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2010, 01:02:55 pm »
Could i ask a really basic question, although i feel stupid about not knowing the answer: what is the difference between hay and haylage? This is our first winter with our 4 sheep.
I live in the south and have no snow, but bitter temps, at the moment but have started feeding nuts and have hay out which they will nibble the grass seed heads from, then leave the stalks.  They have a high energy lick as well.

thanks
CTC

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Hay / Haylage & Lick
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2010, 06:06:10 pm »
hay is made from grass which is cut and then allowed to dry completely (as much as poss), being turned several times over several days to get it all dry. It relies on a run of decent weather at the right time of year (June/July for richer stuff, you can do it later and we did, but it has less nutritional value. It has to be kept somewhere completely dry and have airflow. But it doesnt need wrapping only baling

haylage is between hay and silage on the spectrum of richness. It is grass cut and allowed to wilt to an extent, but is then baled tightly to exclude the air so that it sort of pickles (rather than rots which it would if air was allowed to get in). Air getting in would either rot it or cause mould, which can poison animals, any mouldy haylage must be disposed of and not fed). So keeping the plastic wrapped bales free of any holes (from stones, baler spike or any other cause ) is crucial. But, once wrapped and before opening it can be kept outside and wont spoil.

silage just for info is grass (generally quite rich lush stuff) that is cut and baled like haylage but done traight away. again air is excluded. It is too rich for horses and also can be a bit much for sheep and as its often cut close to the ground there is a bigger risk of botulism for both horses and sheep. Some sheep do fine on it but hay or haylage preferable.

Fishyhaddock

  • Joined Apr 2009
  • aberdeenshire
Re: Hay / Haylage & Lick
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2010, 07:04:45 am »
Thanks for all your help on this one - have got hold of 8 bales of hay so more than enough to see the sheep through this prolonged winter patch.Now I just have to find a solution to stop the water freezing!

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Hay / Haylage & Lick
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2010, 09:57:29 pm »
If you find a cheap and easy solution to that one, patent it and you will be a squillionaire :-)) ;D

 

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