Showing sheep is a fun and rewarding project. Lambs make great companions and teach the exhibitor responsibility and work ethic. One of the most important aspects of getting your lamb project ready to show is providing it with quality nutrition. That’s why it’s so important to find the right show sheep feed system for your barn.
Nutrition is key to your lamb’s growth, performance, finish and your ability to capture the purple ribbon.
Balanced Nutrition is Key to Your Show Sheep Feed
Ensure that you are giving your lambs a balanced ration to optimize their performance. A good ration for show sheep feed should include 15 to 18% protein and 3 ½ to 4 ½% fat, according to Sam Silvers, the BioZyme® Inc. National Small Ruminant and Show Livestock Business Development Manager, said there are multiple brands on the market that exhibitors can feed. However, reading the label and keeping the ingredient quality and nutritional value in mind is more important than what brand the feed is.
“The biggest thing is to make sure your feed is fresh. Make sure it is readily available from your supplier or feed store and find a feed your sheep likes that hits the protein requirements and stick with it,” Silvers said.
Water is Life
Water is the most essential nutrient to every animal, and your show sheep are no exception. Make sure to provide your show sheep with clean, fresh water throughout the day. Silvers recommends giving your lambs free-choice water. If you don’t have a watering system in your pens, chain or attach a bucket to the fence so your lamb doesn’t dump it over, causing damp bedding.
Provide fresh water every time you feed, and check the water throughout the day to make sure it is clean of bedding or any other materials. Especially in the summer, make sure your animals have plenty of clean water.
Water intake is directly correlated to feed intake. If you want your lambs to eat their show sheep feed, you first need to make sure they are consuming enough water. A lamb that isn’t drinking probably isn’t eating, which can impact its overall gain and performance.
Give ’em Hay
Sheep are ruminants. That means their digestive system has four unique compartments. Therefore, they need forage to help meet their digestive needs. Other common ruminants include cattle and goats. If you see them chewing their cud, that is part of their digestive system at work and an important part of why they require forage daily.
“Give your lambs good quality grass hay every evening to keep their guts functioning and keep them ruminating,” Silvers suggested.
Consistency is Key
Just like we suggested being consistent with your show sheep feed brands and type, it is also important to stay consistent with your feeding schedule. Silvers recommends feeding your sheep every 12 hours. Set a time and stay on that schedule as closely as you can. If you feed at 7 a.m., feed again at 7 p.m. That puts your animals on a schedule they are used to and also gives their digestive system time to work and empty out.
It is also important to keep consistent with the feed pans and water buckets you use. Make sure you clean these daily to keep your sheep healthy and to keep flies and other pests at bay.
Prebiotics for Picky Eaters
Lambs can be known to be somewhat picky eaters. However, it is important to get your sheep to eat and drink. As mentioned earlier, appetite and water intake are interdependent, and are vital to your lamb’s overall growth and performance.
If you have a picky eater that is hesitant to eat its show sheep feed, Silvers recommends drenching it with Liquid Boost®. Liquid Boost is a liquid product for all livestock designed to provide immediate support to the animal’s digestive and immune systems. It contains flavoring to help drive intake of feed or water. More importantly, Liquid Boost contains AO-Biotics® Amaferm®, a prebiotic research-proven to enhance digestibility, and MOS (mannan oligosaccharide) to help normalize gut microflora and support the immune system.
Drench your sheep as needed to help increase their appetite, and support their overall digestive health.
Where to Find Products
Want to know more about this wonderful orange-red liquid to help your show sheep stay on feed and water, Liquid Boost? Or are you ready to purchase it to make it part of your show sheep feed routine? You can order it online or locate your nearest dealer.
We want to help make your show sheep project as successful as possible. Starting with good nutrition will help you achieve your goals and get you one step closer to that purple banner.