Can Sheep Eat Alfalfa? (What You Need To Know)
Sheep can definitely eat alfalfa. Alfalfa contains a lot of vitamins, especially some B-complex vitamins. Alfalfa also has iron, which sheep need to make blood cells. They need it to keep their bodies running — their hearts, their brains — and to keep their digestive systems working normally.
What Is Alfalfa?
Alfalfa is a plant that belongs to the pea and bean family. It is a perennial herb, which means it will come back again after having been harvested. The leaves of the alfalfa plant are edible for humans, however animals like sheep are able to eat the stems and seeds as well.
Alfalfa is mostly grown alongside other crops, like corn and soybeans, to produce energy-rich products like ethanol. Alfalfa is an important plant for grazing, as well as a cash crop for farmers. Alfalfa can be used either to create pure alfalfa protein (also known as “Alfalfa meal”), or it can be used in food products like hamburgers.
What Is Alfalfa Used For? Alfalfa is used in a variety of ways including: as animal feed; in pet foods; as an ingredient in fertilizers; to make paper; in brewing beer and alcohol production, and much more!
Health Benefits Of Alfalfa For Sheep
The benefits that alfalfa brings are many and important, and the importance of the healthy product it provides sheep is evident to anyone who studies alfalfa.
One of the main benefits alfalfa provides to sheep is it’s high protein content.There are many animals that need a high amount of protein in their diet. Sheep are one of them, and sheep diets typically include alfalfa as part of the meal.
Alfalfa is rich in many nutrients despite being low in calories, which is why it is often included in sheep diets to help with their growth. Some minerals and vitamins that sheep benefit from include:
Iron: Ingestion of Iron will aid farmers in keeping their sheep healthy by preventing anemia.
Manganese: Manganese is important for both humans and animals as it helps to maintain bone health, assists in the function of the photosynthesis, and it helps with the absorption of other nutrients too.
Copper: Copper is important as it helps to maintain bone health.
Vitamin B1 & B2: Vitamin B1 known as thiamine is important for blood and nervous system health. Vitamin B2 is needed for the proper functioning of the skin, hair and mucous membranes.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is known as an antioxidant and is important as it helps to maintain a healthy immune system and skin.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K is also known as phytonadione and is important as it helps to maintain a healthy immune system.
Fiber: Fiber is also very important in sheep diets that must provide the right amount of fiber. This can be provided through hay and pasture. Some other sources of fiber are whole grains and vegetables. It is important to mix the sources of fiber into your sheep diet as they will not all be consumed at the same rate when you combine them.
How Much Alfalfa Should Sheep Eat?
Let’s talk about how much alfalfa a sheep should eat. A good rule of thumb is being inside the range of 200 to 400 g of dry matter (DM) per day. You will have to increase the amount of alfalfa eaten when you have a very strong growing or condition lambing season.
For example, if you have a spring breeding ewe, you can increase her alfalfa intake to between 400 and 600 g per day. If you are feeding a pregnant ewe concentrate the alfalfa in your diet to around 100 grams per day.
What Type Of Hay Should Sheep Eat?
You should provide your sheep with a mix of legumes, grass and corn. Legume hay is known for its high fiber content and is an excellent source of protein.
Alfalfa hay is an excellent source of fiber and it is used to make milk. Corn hay tops the list when it comes to its high sugar content, which makes it one of the best things that you can feed your pregnant ewes.
Legume hay will have a higher protein content than alfalfa, while corn hay has a higher sugar content than legume hay.
So the answer to our original question: “What type of grass should sheep eat?” It all depends on what stage of pregnancy they are in during feeding season.
A pregnant ewe will need more nutrients so her diet should be higher in fibre, minerals as well as protein (all found in legume/alfalfa). After lambing, the ewe will need more calories to give energy for milk production, so she will require a higher fat (corn) based diet in addition to her normal ration.