Hay vs Sheep nuts for cost $$

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1 month 4 days ago #557608 by LindaVickie
Hi ya,

just wondering if anybody has looked into the seasonal cost of hay / baleage vs sheep nuts? - I'm sure you have
Would you say it's much of a muchness, or do some of you sway to a definite hay or a definite nuts?
Yes, I realise I can't feed on nuts alone, they need access to green grass (which I will still have if i start feeding out in the next few weeks)
And sheep welfare, would you say nuts or hay?
I have 22 sheep, maybe 12 are in lamb and due in Oct.
They are well covered and some folk would say they are a little spoilt as I throw them nuts because they run to the fence and bleat whenever I pass.
The softie in me says they must be hungry, but i know they are not.
I found them to be a little fussy last year, wasting hay, probably because they knew they would get nuts off me.
Money is not the issue, what will be will be, so long as they are healthy.
So, if i was to 'get tough' how many 20 bags of nuts would you be feeding them per week and / or bales of hay (or a big bale)

I'm in West Melton, and i know the grass will run out soon enough.  Going to be quite a few months for me to have to feed them.

Anyway, just curious to know your thoughts
much appreciated
Linda


 

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1 month 3 days ago #557610 by tonybaker
Linda, the first thing is, do you need so many sheep? You should adjust your stock numbers to the available grazing. and plan to sell off stock when feed is short. It is surprising how you can suddenly find yourself with a mob of sheep that need shearing, nobody wants the wool. so they are starting to cost you big time. Yes, sheep will soon associate you with food if you are feeding them by hand so soon learn to tug at your heart strings for food. My sheep won't eat hay under any circumstances, so I feed them tree prunings and anything else that the chickens won't eat! I think that in your region you should not run short of feed most years if you are stocked appropriately?

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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1 month 3 days ago #557612 by LongRidge
Do your sheep eat hay? Some of ours do not, even though the others have shown them that hay is food, for years.
Sheep are ruminants so need something to ruminate on between eating pellets. So if you have no food, they should have both hay and pellets. Try to feed pellets in troughs or trays of some sort so not so many of them are trodden into the ground.
We have to buy in hay and balage and pellets, because sometimes the weather is such that the pasture growth does not happen in autumn. We don't want to cull animals that know our property, that know us, and that are used to the worms that are present, if we are going to need them for next year. I consider that buying in stock food is rather like buying in fertiliser, as the animals that eat it are going to compost it.
And we are going to make a small fortune out of wool :-) .

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1 month 3 days ago #557613 by LindaVickie
thanks for the replies.
Yep, the flock has increased over the years.
What started out 10 years ago as having half a doz to keep the freezer stocked has turned into me now keeping more each year
All the friendly bottle fed lambs seem to avoid the slaughter man.  (except the boys, I like lamb chops too much)
So I have a paddock full of ewes that I know who is the mother of who.  Some have names that they answer to, and all will do a 60m dash when I call.
So, overstocked? No, not for 8 acres of paddock.  A waste of money in shearing and feeding and drenching? probably.
Am I crazy for standing in the middle of a paddock scratching sheep under the chin? Absolutely
I've always fed hay and nuts.  So, will be same again this year, hay and nuts 
Like I said in the beginning, I was just curious to know your thoughts of the economics of hay vs nuts $$

PS - only this year have I not also had two cattle munching feed  (for the freezer) 

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1 month 2 days ago #557617 by Nora
Replied by Nora on topic Hay vs Sheep nuts for cost $$
If you make your own hay then economically better than buying it in at this time of the year, or buying nuts.

If you’re buying hay now then nuts are around equivalent in cost.

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3 weeks 1 day ago #557652 by VioletFarmer
Howdy, I'm in South Canterbury & this rain sure is too much!! A few years back I compared the price of hay, crushed barley & sheep pellets. We do our own hay, so with that effort, fert etc good quality red clover hay was the most cost effective at $3.60 per  bale. Next was crushed barley which WAS $28 per 40kg sack, we have our own crusher. Per kg of protein, it worked out just about equivalent to nuts for 1/3 the price. You would have to price the equivalent hay, barley & sheep nuts with today's price's & hold onto your wig I would say!!! Over fat ewes with a full fleece are a liability, maybe condition score them, if in good/ great condition red clover/ lucerne hay till a month before lambing, then use sheep nuts or barley in that last month.

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2 weeks 2 days ago #557675 by woodlandfarm
You can figure out approx cost:
e.g.
average hay 9mj/ME per kg DM 85% DM $12 a conventional bale ~ 20kg
average balage 10mj/ME per kg DM 35% DM $20 a conventional bale ~ 40kg
multi nuts 12mj/ME per kg DM 85% DM $33 a 25kg sack

Feeding 1kg of each you'd get
hay: 7.65mj/me
balage: 3.5mj/me
nuts: 10.2mj/me

If your ewe requires 20mj/me a day (or around 1.9kg DM) you'd have to feed the below
Obviously it's not taking into account grass, and you wouldn't just feed nuts for example!

hay: 2.6kg $1.60
Balage: 5.7kg $2.90
nuts: 1.9kg $2.50

Hope my calculations are correct, but you get the idea. The price of the feed you can get can obviously change what is 'cheapest' to feed. We feed off large rounds of balage for our sheep as it's much cheaper.

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5 days 2 hours ago #557700 by Justin Newman
Im looking into feed for 5 ewes that are all carrying lambs.
I see baleage can go off after being open for a few days. If I use square bales and only unwrap/feed bit by bit, will this stop the baleage going bad?

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4 days 1 hour ago #557701 by LongRidge
Hi Justin. Firstly, will your sheep eat balage? Some of my Romneys won't, even after being brought up with it. Other breeds tend to hoe into it as if it's the best food in the world. But if your sheep will not eat it then they won't learn unless some of the sheep will eat it.
Pregnant sheep, especially if they have multiples, won't be able to eat enough hay or balage for their needs, because the bulk of the lambs restricts how much food they can fit into the rumen. So pellets are better for multiples.
In a square bale of balage there are about 10 bales of hay. This might just be enough food for 15 days for your 5 pregnant ewes. A few years ago a bale would not stay nutritious for 15 days open. But with modern inoculation, tightly re-wrapping, and cold South Island temperatures the balage might stay nutritious long enough.
Personally, I would try by feeding out as much as they will eat over the 24 hour period. If they don't eat most of it then give a bit less, and if they do eat all of it then give them a bit more :-) .

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