NZ Lifestyle Block - - Feature -

Ideally, you've kept a core group of your best stock, typ­i­cally proven breed­ing fe­males, and you're go­ing to need to keep them well fed so they stay healthy.

This will mean feed­ing enough rea­son­able qual­ity hay that an­i­mals fin­ish eat­ing and leave a bit be­hind. The hay needs to be sweet-smelling, dry but still green, in­di­cat­ing it has good pro­tein lev­els – pro­tein is cru­cial for an­i­mal health and will be lack­ing in yel­lowed pas­ture or very dry, yel­low hay.

This won't be enough for sheep and goats, which will need hay and a grain sup­ple­ment as they can bulk up on hay but still not re­ceive the nu­tri­ents they need to main­tain con­di­tion, es­pe­cially if they are preg­nant. The safest sup­ple­ments are, in de­scend­ing or­der: • oats • bar­ley • ryecorn • wheat Com­mer­cial sheep nuts are an­other use­ful source of nu­tri­tion. Where grain con­sti­tutes a high pro­por­tion of the ra­tion, mix 15g sodium bi­car­bon­ate (bak­ing soda) per 1kg grain to help off­set the ef­fects of grain over­load. Bi­carb can help to neu­tralise the acid in the ru­men, or you can mix in feed ad­di­tives (eg, Ru­mensin) to re­duce aci­do­sis prob­lems.

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