Evergreen Students for Sustainable Animal Agriculture

  (Olympia, Washington)
pastured lamb
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Oats and Sheep and Barley Grow

We have reached a decision of what to feed our ewes to boost their nutrition around lambing time! Instead of craisins, we are going to feed locally grown oats and barley. This will give the sheep the energy they need while supporting the local economy and reducing the amount of fossil fuel used in transportation. The club will even get to visit the farm in Toledo where the oats and barley are grown, meeting our farmer and learning more about the source of our grain. 


A Sheep Feeding Experiment

Recently in sheep club we've been discussing possible feeds to supplement the diets of our ewes around lambing season. We know that the ewes will need some extra energy during that time, but we have yet to decide what the best feed to provide that energy would be. The grain we fed to the ewes last year worked out well, but this year we wanted to explore some other options to see if we could find a non-grain energy source. 

At Thursday's club meeting, Mike announced that he might have found the perfect supplement for our sheep: Craisins and dried cherries. 

They're small, concentrated, full of energy and nutrients, and economical when classified as not for human consumption. But do sheep like craisins? Would they be able to eat them without them gumming up in their mouths? Would they eat them at all? We went to the pasture to find out. 

First, we put some craisins in a black plastic feeding tray that we have used before to feed the sheep. When we shook the tray and placed it on the ground, the sheep came running. They seemed to be loving the craisins, all clustered around eating them, even pushing each other out of the way. It looked like the craisins were a wild success. Still, we couldn't be sure. We dumped some piles of craisins and dried cherries onto the pasture to test whether the sheep would find them and eat them off the ground. The sheep had much less interest in the craisins on the ground. A few of the sheep ate them, but with much less enthusiasm. We left them with a few piles of craisins and a pile of cherries. Maybe the sheep just need to learn that the craisins are food or maybe they only ate the craisins from the feeding tray because they expected them to be grain. 

 We still have a bit more figuring out to do about this craisin situation. 


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