Basic Foodstuffs

The most basic nutrients of sheep include water, energy, protein, minerals, vitamins, growth regulators and feed additives.


The physiological condition of the sheep (pregnancy, milk yield), the type of feed consumed, the water content of the feed and the ambient temperature affect the daily water consumption. The water requirement of sheep consuming concentrated feed in summer is naturally higher than those consuming fresh pasture in spring. Depending on their physiological status and climate, sheep can consume up to 3 liters of water per day. Especially if lambs and young sheep cannot be supplied with sufficient water, the animals will remain dwarf (parched, cachectic) and can even die. Sheep should always have water resources to reach clean and fresh water. Water sources should be cleaned daily, and if winter freezes, animals should be provided with hot water.


Energy requirements of sheep vary depending on factors such as size, physiological period, daily exercise (walking path, etc.), fleece length, environmental conditions (cold, hot, wind, rain, etc.), the amount of feed they consume, energy content and digestibility. Large sheep need less energy than others. Sheep grazing in nearby pastures or looking for insects has little energy requirements. In winter, especially the short-fleece sheep have high energy needs. Herbs and straw, cereals, agricultural wastes and food industry by-products are used as sources. Cereals are rich in energy. This is followed by oilseed meal and molasses, and then pasture plants and straw according to quality. Energy deficiency occurs when sheep cannot be supplied with sufficient feed or if the energy content of the feed is low. In this case, the body fat stores, if any, is used by activating, otherwise proteins are consumed, the animals die if deficiency continues.


The building block of animal tissues is protein. The growth and regeneration of body tissues is due to proteins. Since sheep are ruminants, the amount of protein they consume is more important than the source. In ruminants, the ability to convert nitrogenous compounds from any source into protein by rumen fermentation was given. As the age of sheep grows, protein needs decrease. This need increases in certain periods of life. Protein sources; legume seeds, oilseed meal, meat meal, fish meal etc. original sources as well as urea. Although protein is basically an expensive nutrient, medium quality pastures and hay meet the protein needs of sheep. However, sheep need protein supplementation during the last six weeks of pregnancy and lactation. The same situation is encountered in the insufficiency of pastures.


Minerals, Macro-Minerals (Ca, Na, Cl, Mg, P, K, S) if more than 100 ppm is required in feed, Micro-Minerals (Co, Cu, Fe, I, Mo, Se, Zn). Some minerals are involved in the structure of the skeleton, while others are involved in biochemical reactions and balance of body fluids. Salt and mineral substances should be provided throughout the year so that animals can freely access them. Otherwise, reproductive disruptions, poor and viable lamb births, decreased milk yield, deterioration of the immune system and numerous metabolic disruptions occur. Sea or lake salt is a source of Na and Cl. Rock salts are more useful as they contain many other minerals. Limestone or marble powder may be used as the source of calcium, di-calcium phosphate as the source of phosphorus and sodium sulfate as the source of sulfur.


Vitamins are involved in biochemical reactions, energy metabolism and synthesis of the basic building blocks of the body. Quality pastures all vitamins necessary for sheep or precursors to synthesize in the body They contain. If the pastures cannot be used for various reasons, vitamins A, D and E should be given additionally. Practically for this purpose vitamins suspected of deficiency injection should be given. High energy concentrate feeds increase thiamine requirement and symptoms occur with brain edema (Encephalomalacia).



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