vitamin; PPR; ruminants; goats

Small stock production: Basic advice on licks for your goats and sheep

Question: Could you tell me which formulas I can use as self-mix lick supplements for goats and sheep in summer and winter, and which feed lick can be used to grow weaners (sheep and goats)?

The most important source of food is always the natural veld or artificial pasture. If there is also a lot of bush, animals (especially goats) will eat large quantities and, because bush generally contains more good-quality nutrients, it’s a good basic food.

In summer rainfall areas, the best veld grazing is in this season. In winter, especially in sourveld areas, the quality of grazing can deteriorate badly and supplements become essential.

It’s difficult to say which lick – and how much – will be most effective and economical; this depends on conditions such as drought (when there’s a greater need for supplements), the number of livestock and their age and stage of reproduction, overstocked farms and lactating females.

One way to decide when to give licks is to monitor weights or body condition scores. nother is to use average expectations and requirements.

Deciding which lick to use is based on requirements, safety, availability of ingredients, ease of mixing and price. The simplest and safest is to buy ready-made supplements, formulated for various purposes, but they’re usually not the cheapest.

You could buy basic ingredients such as whole maize and add commercial supplements that contain a balanced mixture of minerals, protein sources and other useful items such as pH regulators.

A good practical example of a completely homemade supplement is the chocolate mealie:

  • For every 70 kg bag of whole maize, mix separately 1.5 kg slaked lime (Ca (OH)2) or 2 kg cement powder, and 1.5kg urea.
  • Wet the maize with about 5 litres water, then mix with the powder. Other additives can also be used, depending on the situation.
  • Speak to a local expert who can take individual farm circumstances into account.

Also read: Nutrition for kids and lambs

  • This article was written by Prof. Gareth Bath and first appeared in Farming SA.

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