Well fed sheep are productive and healthy.
Poorly fed sheep have poor health and low productivity. They also catch diseases easily.
Sheep look for themselves what they eat.
This may keep them alive, but:
productive sheep need extra food.
Sheep that eats only what it finds.
Sheep helped by the farmer.
You know, better than us, what is the natural diet of a sheep.
When there is insufficient feed, plants or water available, you should help sheep with their diets.
How can you do this?
THE FARMER HELPING SHEEP'S DIET
In order to help his sheep's diet, a farmer can:
1. Raise forage and crops.
2. Give supplements.
3. Make a water reservoir.
CULTIVATIONS FOR SHEEP
Some good forages and crops a farmer can raise are:
b) Crops useful both for humans and sheep.
We will deal with pastures first.
You can establish:
- a grass pasture
- a legume pasture, or
- a grass and legume pasture
ALL OF THESE MAKE USEFUL FORAGE FOR SHEEP.
A grass and legume pasture of 75 x 75 feet* can provide, approximately, a yearlong supply of forage for one sheep.
*about 23 x 23 meters.
You can use legumes or mix them with grass.
Check with your extension agent for legumes suitable for your area.
In some cases you should plant them with a powder called inoculant.
Inoculants help the plant to grow and help to fertilize the soil.
Pastures can be used for direct grazing or for "cut and carry".
Elephant grass and sugar cane are good for "cut and carry".
b) Crops useful for humans and sheep.
Among the principal crops useful for humans and sheep, we can name:
Banana and cassava are convenient
- fruits and roots for humans and sheep.
- leaves for sheep.
- leaves to sheep
- to people it gives woody material for charcoal production or firewood and for fences.
According to what you have recently studied, choose the correct answer.
1) Banana and cassava are:
Good for people and sheep
Good only for sheep
2) Leucaena is
Useful for humans and sheep Useful only for sheep
3) Leucaena gives to humans
The fruit The leaves The wood
- Yes, banana and cassava are good for people and sheep
- Leucaena is useful for humans and sheep.
- Leucaena gives us wood.
Fresh roots of cassava must not be given to sheep. They can be poisonous!
You can use cassava roots for sheep provided the roots are chopped up and dried or cooked.
A sheep cannot live only on leucaena. A diet of pure leucaena can be poisonous. Watch that your sheep eat feeds other than leucaena.
Crops of bananas, cassava and leucaena can be planted in alleys for best results.
This system was first begun in Africa. And it does work!
It is productive and keeps the soil in good condition.
How to plant banana, cassava and leucaena in alleys?
This is a good example:
As you can see, the order is not difficult to follow.
ALLEY PLANTING is not difficult in the case of 3 alleys and the fence, for instance.
Decide the measures you want to use. If you choose, for instance, 6 yards wide, you should have a piece of land 2 2 yards wide.
- Mark the leucaena fence.
- Mark all the 3 alleys (banana, elephant grass, etc.).
- Plant accordingly.
After having studied about cultivations you may perhaps ask:
You have just said it!
A good sheep farmer provides nutritive feeds to his sheep. Otherwise, production is poor. This is why you should pay first class attention to farming.
GIVE SUPPLEMENTS TO YOUR SHEEP
Supplements make up for things missing in their natural diet.
- during dry season, forage is scarce.
- during certain stages of reproduction such as pregnancy and lactation.
- give minerals all the year round.
We will study the following supplements:
SALT, PROTEINS, HAY, SILAGE, and OTHERS.
Sheep need salt all the time.
If they do not get salt, sheep eat soil or chew posts, buildings, trees, etc.
Be nice to your needy sheep. GIVE THEM SALT.
Legume woody plants are very nutritive for sheep.
They contain plenty of protein (as meat and milk do for humans)
You can plant them for your sheep in blocks or strips.
This plantation is called a PROTEIN BANK.
In this PROTEIN BANK, you put in seeds and sheep draw out plant leaves, especially during the dry season.
A protein bank can be grazed no more than one hour daily or 2 hours three times a week. It can also be cut and carried.
Once, each year, you should, if necessary, cut or trim the plants, so the sheep can easily reach the leaves.
When should you give extra proteins?
- to lambs when they begin to feed by themselves.
- to rams and ewes, one month before breeding.
- to pregnant ewes, the last month of pregnancy.
- to lactating ewes: the first month of lactation,
- to all your sheep, during the dry season.
HAY and SILAGE
In supplements we have studied:
- A protein bank
Now we will pay attention to two important supplements for sheep during the dry-season.
Hay and silage are green forages preserved for the dry season.
No expensive equipment is needed to prepare hay or silage.
Hay is green forage preserved by drying.
Silage is green forage preserved by fermentation (plants kept without air).
Most plants are appropriate for making hay and silage.
Forage legumes, legumes and grass pastures, grasses, cassava leaves, are good for hay or silage.
In hay there is a limitation: Sugarcane and elephant grass are not good because of their large stems.
METHOD FOR MAKING HAY
1. Choose the appropriate plants.
2. Cut plants BEFORE flowering, when they are in full leaf and green.
3. Dry in the sun for one or two days. Turn the material over at least once daily.
4. Stack the hay into a pile or put it into bales. (Protect the pile or the bales from rain).
To make hay or silage you should learn to know how much water a plant contains.
Plants are mostly made of water.
freshly cut 80 parts of water
wilted 60 parts of water
juice can easily be squeezed from stems 45 parts of water
25 parts of water
SAFE FOR BALING
18 to 23 parts of water
SAFE FOR STORAGE
15 to 18 parts of waterMark with X:
i) Hay is green forage preserved by drying.
ii) Only a few plants are useful for making hay
iii) Hay can be put into a pile or into bales
Answers to page 120:
YES X NO
YES NO X
Many plants are useful for making hay.
YES X NO
The leaves of the plants are important as a source of nutrients.
In hay baling, fewer leaves are lost. This is why hay baling is normally better than a stack.
You and your neighbours can make hay balings with rather simple instruments.
You will see one of them on the next page.
Here you have a hay baler.
You put the hay in and pack it down.
You go on until you have the whole bale.
Tie it up with string.
Now we will start with silage.
You surely know what a silo is.
They are small or large airtight containers inside which plants ferment.
Different containers can be used as silos.
You see, silos do not need to be elaborate.
How can you calculate the size of the silo you need?
You can make the following calculation:
A cubic foot of silage can be enough for one ewe during 10 days.
A 60 cubic feet (4 deep x 3 wide x 5 length) can be enough for 5 sheep during 4 months.
Mark with X, please:
i) Can air tight plastic bags be used as silos?
ii) Are plants put to dry inside the silos?
Answers to page 126:
YES X NO
YES NO X
METHOD FOR MAKING SILAGE
- Choose appropriate plants.
- Cut the plants DURING the flowering stage.
- Chop the plants into lengths of &frac;12 to 1 ½ inches*
- See that the plants are neither too dry nor wet.
- Pack with hands, feet or other means into the silo.
- Do not open before 6 weeks.
* 1/2 inch = 1.25 centimeters;
1 1/2 inches =3.8 centimeters.
The plants for silage must have a correct moisture content (15 to 18 parts of water)
In order to check the water content, form a ball of it with your hands for a while and release SUDDENLY.
What can happen then?
Perhaps you can try at home. See what happens with your own before you turn to the next page.
When releasing the ball suddenly, we can expect 3 different results.
The table shows the results and what to do about them.
MEANING WHAT TO DO Ball falls apart slowly and has some juice
IT IS ALRIGHT Pack the silage Ball falls apart
IT IS TOO DRY Add water and pack Ball does not fall apart and has juice
T IS TOO WET Wait until it is alright
Generally speaking, silage can be ready in six weeks.
Once the silo is opened, the silage exposed to the air spoils after some hours.
So, when you open a silo let the sheep finish it completely.
1) Ground animal bones2) Molasses
- They are high in calcium and phosphorus
- They should be available all year.
- They can be mixed with salt.
- Is high in carbohydrates.
- It makes a good dry season supplement.
3) Vegetable tops
- Good for energy.
- They can be fed whenever available.
4) Concentrates such as by-products of oil crops
- High in protein
- Give one month before lambing and first month of lactation.
5) Commercial feeds
- Check contents of label.
6. For examples of feeds you can mix using mainly local products, see Appendix I.
We have thus finished with cultivations and supplements.
We will end this chapter with a few pages on water for sheep.
A RAIN TRAP
You can capture rain water and store it in a reservoir. This is called a rain trap.
A capturing area can be any surface in which rain water will run off. You can use the roof of your house as a capturing area.
The bottoms and sides of the reservoir should be water tight to prevent leaking. The top should be covered (totally or in part).
A type of raintrap used in Jamaica.
REMEMBER: Water should be clean, fresh and cool.
A more elaborate system is shown in Chapter VII.
ESTIMATING NEEDED SIZE OF A RAINTRAP
- Mr. Thomas has 4 sheep.
- A sheep needs around 1 gallon of water per day.
- He then needs 1,460 gallons of water to provide an adequate supply for 4 sheep for one year.
(365 days x 1 gallon of water per day x 4 sheep = 1,460 gallons).
- His average rainfall per year is 20 inches.
A capturing area of only 6 x 6 feet (36 sq.feet)* is all that he needs, plus a holding tank.
A tank 2 ½ feet long and 2 ½ feet wide and 3 ½ feet deep would be of sufficient size to hold the water.
*About 11 square meters.
TEST NUMBER 3
Circle the number of the correct statement:
- A productive sheep eats only what it finds.
- A productive sheep needs extra food.
- A farmer needs to make cultivations to help his sheep's diet
- Banana and cassava are good for people and sheep.
- Fresh roots of cassava are good for sheep.
- A good.farmer gives supplements to his sheep during pregnancy and lactation.
- It is good to have a "protein bank" for the dry season.
- Freshly cut plants are good for hay.
- Plants with large stems are good for hay.
- Hay and silage are green forage preserved for the dry season.
- You can use different containers as silos.
- Molasses is high in carbohydrates.
- Water should be clean, fresh and cool.
- Even the roof of your house is a good water trap.
- Salt should be added to the sheep's diet only during the dry season.
- By-products of oil crops are high in proteins.
Answers to Test Number 3:
Only 1, 5, 8, 9 and 15 were wrong statements.
We hope you did not choose them.
Don't forget that:
- If you want productive sheep you have to give them extra food.
- Fresh roots of cassava are poisonous.
- Fresh cut plants contain too much water, they are not good for hay.
- Elephant grass and sugar cane are not good for hay, because of their large stems.
- Salt should always be available.