Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Sheep lick and hay enough?  (Read 265 times)


  • Joined Aug 2017
Sheep lick and hay enough?
« on: January 16, 2023, 01:01:43 pm »
I have a handful of shetlands which are due to lamb beginning of April.

Would plenty of hay and a hi-energy sheep lick be enough for them?
Or would they need feed aswell?

Many thanks


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Sheep lick and hay enough?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2023, 02:02:22 pm »
Are they experienced ewes or first-timers?  Did you use a Shetland tup or something larger?  Have you scanned, do you know how many lambs they're carrying?

The best guide is to keep a close eye on body condition and if any ewes are carrying less condition than about CS2.5, give them a bit of feed with the aim of not letting them lose more. 

All ewes need a lot of glucose in the final 6-8 weeks of gestation, which may mean they'll need a bit of hard feed or molasses from early Feb, depending on where you are and when you start to get grass growth. 

We don't generally feed our Shetland and Shetland x ewes but they all go to a Shetland tup to lamb from mid-April, and we're in North Cornwall where we often have grass growing most of the winter.  (But sometimes it doesn't, or is too wet to be useful, so then we might feed a little in March.)
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  • Joined Aug 2017
Re: Sheep lick and hay enough?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2023, 05:15:50 pm »
No not scanned and 1 is a first timer.
They ran with a Shetland tup.

Suppose I could put a lick out and maybe just give them a handful of feed each a day starting mid February.


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Sheep lick and hay enough?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2023, 10:13:26 pm »
I think it depends totally on what grazing you have for them.  Here our grass is covered in frozen snow and was the same before Christmas, so even though there is some length to the grass, there is no goodness left in it. My ewes have access to browse as well, but at this time of year it's just bark. My sheep are Hebrideans but their needs are pretty much the same as Shetlands. At the moment they have adlib hay plus a licky bucket (Crystalix). Ours are due to lamb in the last week of March. We shall start giving them a little 'Champion Tup' feed after the first week of Feb, gradually increasing, but to nothing like the amount given to commercial ewes.  As Sally says, we keep an eye on their condition so we assess empirically how much feed they need. Primitives don't tend to put fat on over their spines but if overfed they can collect fat around their internal organs which is not good, so you need to balance enough and too much.
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  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Sheep lick and hay enough?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2023, 09:38:42 am »
I think you are asking for trouble if you do not feed some concentrate in the last 8 to 6 weeks - as others have said no goodness left in the grass and even hay is not that good anymore.

I have found that it is also helpful to feed a bit of concentrate just after lambing, not only will you see if any of the ewes/lambs aren't doing that well, but also avoid grass staggers. It also means that your lambs will get used to coming for feed/bucket if you need to gather them... they will remember even if you then don't feed all summer.


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