Can sheep eat potatoes
Alternative feed for sheep
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As ruminants, sheep and goats mainly use the fodder from grassland, pastures and alpine pastures. But there are also a number of other feedstuffs that are eaten. Almost everything that arises in plant production can be fed to sheep and goats: grain, arable crops, by-products of oil production, sugar production, brewery, distillery, fruit juice production, etc. It must always be ensured that the individual feed is balanced overall Ration and used correctly. In addition, they must be of perfect quality, that is, not dirty, moldy, incorrectly fermented or frozen. In order to be able to put together a suitable ration, the so-called internal quality must also be known. First and foremost, these are the energy and protein content, but you should also know the content of minerals and trace elements. Similar to the feeding of concentrated feed, the following applies: First give hay or roughage, then the supplementary feed such as potatoes or fodder beet. In addition, feed changes should always be made slowly. Gradually get the animals used to the new feed, especially with previously unknown feed.
Potato growers produce a lot of potatoes that are either too small or have slight injuries and therefore cannot be sold for human consumption. These potatoes can be used as feed for sheep. Sheep and goats can also use the potatoes raw, so they do not have to be steamed, which in turn would consume energy. The potato is a very high-energy animal feed, it contains around 12 MJ ME and 9% crude protein. Dirty potatoes must be cleaned before feeding. Offer enough hay or straw to compensate for the structure. Store the potatoes frost-free and in the dark so that they do not sprout or turn green, because then they form the poison solanine. If the sheep eat the potatoes too greedily, there is a risk of suffocation with small potatoes. Simply put the whole potatoes in the trough. Gradually increase the daily amount. In total, the ration can contain 20 to 30% potatoes.
You can find more alternative feed, their properties and sample rations in the full article in Schafe & Ziegen aktuell 1/2020. Order a free sample copy here
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