Saturday, November 8, 2008

Babydoll Sheep - Feeding

Babydoll Sheep are very easy keepers. Their daily requirements include fresh water, one flake of good quality grass hay (not alfalfa) per sheep, and free-choice access to salt and minerals - both of which should be in the loose form...not a brick. According to most resources, sheep will break their teeth on brick forms of salt/minerals - and teeth are very important to ovine health! Babydolls do not need to be fed grain. Because of this lack in need for daily grain - and because they love it SO much - it makes for an excellent training aid or treat. I've found that my sheep will practically stand on their heads for even a handful of the yummy stuff!

Note the green water bucket in the right lower corner of the photo: this is a heated bucket that you can get from several online sources, but the cheapest place I've found it is Jeffers. This bucket is a little bit too tall for Babydolls. So, in order to lessen the height - as well as stabilize the bucket and prevent it from being knocked over - I dig a circular hole about four inches deep, then put the bucket in the hole. Make sure the hole is a little bit larger than the bucket so that you can pull it out for cleaning! Sheep are very particular about their water being clean (can you blame them?) - so clean out the debris on a daily basis and give it a good scrubbing every week or so.

Also in the above photo you can see a strange looking blue structure behind the sheep. This is the hay feeder. I have found it to be an excellent feeder for Babydoll sheep. It has six sides, so each of my sheep can munch on his or her own side in relative peace (sheep are very pushy when it comes to food) - and the inner tub comes out so it can be cleaned. I purchased this feeder from Sheepman...and it arrived unassembled, but according to the "farm agent" (my hubby, Kirk) it was very easy to put together. This is a heavy duty, high quality feeder that I would highly recommend!

The loose minerals and salt can be placed in buckets, pans, commercially made mineral feeders, or a homemade PVC feeder. Just make sure that they are fully stocked at all times!

Finally, since Babydoll sheep get fat very easily it is best not to give them too many treats. However, it is hard to resist their sweet little faces, so we do like to give ours the occasional treat. I have found that my sheep will not eat healthy snacks like apples, carrots, celery, etc. (except Cupcake...I think she will eat anything). My sheep have a sweet tooth and are extremely fond of graham crackers. Below is a photo of Cupcake accidentally getting part of the wire fence in her mouth in her exhuberance to get a bite of her favorite treat!

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