How Much To Feed Sheep And Goats- S&G Part 1

The amount of food a small ruminant needs is often estimated on a dry matter basis (“dry matter” refers to what would remain if all of the moisture was removed from the food). The amount of dry matter a small ruminant needs to consume in order to meet their nutritional needs depends on many factors including the temperature, the type and quality of the food, and the individual (their weight, life stage, general health, and activity level all factor in). Because of this, there is a wide range of estimates different sources provide regarding dry matter intake- for sheep ranging from below 2% to 5% of their body weight and for goats ranging from below 2% to 6% of their body weight. According to Susan Schoenian, Sheep & Goat Specialist for University of Maryland Extension, in order to meet their nutritional requirements, sheep and goats generally need to consume 2-4% of their body weight in dry matter. By offering forage, whether fresh or dried, on a free-choice basis (providing unlimited quantities and allowing individuals to eat as much as they desire) individuals can consume as much food as they need. However, some individuals may require additional supplementation, on top of this, in which case your veterinarian can make specific recommendations regarding their dietary needs.

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