Feed is really important for our animals to help ensure they are happy and healthy. We give different types of feed to different animals for various reasons but on a day to day basis the feeding requirement doesn’t change.
Our livestock predominantly consists cows and sheep and therefore we have two main feeds that we use daily throughout the winter.
Firstly the sheep! Within out flock of sheep we effectively have two types- ewes (the moms) that we use for lambing, and then the lambs that are fattened up for the butchers shop. Both are fed a sheep nut as pictured below. The best way to describe it is a like a complete dry dog food- the one sheep nut contains all the vitamins and minerals the sheep need.
During the summer months the ewes are left to graze the fields and no feed is required at all. As we get towards lambing all of the ewes are scanned and marked so we know which are expecting one lamb, twins or triplets. They are then separated into bunches based on how many lambs they are expecting and fed appropriately- those expecting more lambs are given more feed. We begin giving them this extra feed about 4 – 6 weeks before they are due to lamb and for the duration of the lambing period. Once they have lambed they continue to get feed and hay whilst kept back at the farm, they are then turned back out into the field with their lambs and fed for roughly a further 6 weeks depending on their condition.
The lambs will feed off their mothers initially and no feed is required but once weaned they are fed ad lib. For this we have feeders out in the fields full of food and the lambs can help themselves when they want to.
The cattle again can be separated into two types- the cows that are used for calfing and kept on the farm, and the calfs that are fattened up and sent for the shop. In the summer they are exactly the same as the sheep, out on the grass too graze with no extra feed required.
When we bring the cows in during the winter months this grass has to be substituted. All our cows get the same feed but depending on the circumstance some get more than others. The pregnant mothers will get fed morning and night whereas the cows been fattened up will have ad lib food available throughout the day. Both sets of cows always have access to silage- I will do a separate post on silage, but it is basically fermented grass.
For the cows feed we grow oats and barley which is harvested and stored at the farm. a truck called ‘mill and mix’ will then come to the farm and it grinds the oats and barley down at the same time as adding in a protein pellet and molasses to create a complete feed. You can see this feed pictured below.
To feed around the farm we have two great storage bins full of the feed that we then shovel into bags. In true farmer style great Uncle Tom made a cart to wheel the feed bags round on so they don’t have to be carried. For the sheep nuts we also have a feed silo, we use this when bagging up food to take out to the lambs in the field.
I managed to take some clips of the feeding process below.
This is us working the feed silo to fill up the bags for the sheep.
A couple of clips out in the field filling up the ad lib feeders for the lambs.
Some clips of Mr W feeding the ewes after lambing.
A clip from one of our cow barns eating the ad lib feed.
Finally a feeding fail! My husband was moving one of the lamb feeders with the tractor and it dropped off the end, he hates this clip but its one of my favourites!