Can Sheep Eat Clover? (Explained!)
Clover is a common weed that starts to grow in the first spring months. It usually grows in yards and grassy areas. When it is first born, it’s green and small, but very quickly it grows tall and starts to flower. It is commonly used to feed livestock such as cattle, goats and horses, but is it good for sheep also?
Can sheep eat clover? Yes, clover is a good addition to a sheep’s diet, it contains many nutrients that are good for their health.
Clover is an important food source in the sheep farmer’s fields to supplement the diet of sheep.
Health Benefits Of Clover For Sheep
Clover is actually a pretty complete source of food for sheep. It contains a good amount of protein in the form of clover protein, much needed by the lambs. Some studies also show that clover contains some level of phosphorus, as well as Vitamin E and K.
The most important benefit that clover has for sheep is that it has a good amount of fibers, which helps in keeping the digestive system and the whole body of the sheep healthy, and iron, which helps in the overall development of the sheep. Clover is also an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory that helps in preventing various sicknesses by slowing down free radical damage, as well as pain and swelling.
These nutrients are well absorbed by the sheep’s body and it helps the sheep grow better and for longer periods of time.
Clover is also rich in vitamins A and B. Vitamin B helps improve a sheep’s metabolism as well as their immune system, making it easier for them to fight off diseases.
Different Types Of Clover
Clover is generally classified in three different ways:
Red Clover: Red clover is a type of clover that most farmers prefer. It is an annual flowering plant, which means it has to be planted every year to grow. Although it is not as common, it does occur naturally in some parts of America.
White Clover: This type of clover actually comes from the same family as red clover, but has a few difference in physical appearance and growth patterns. One key difference between these two types of clovers is the time at which they bloom . Red clover blossoms early in March, while white clover blooms late into the fall months.
White Clover also tends to have more flowers than red Clover, and because of its long bloom period, it can be harvested up until November or December.
Strawberry Clover: Strawberry clover, or Trifolium fragiferum, is a type of clover that is naturally found in Europe. Strawberry clover is a species of Red Clover with a strawberry fragrance. The leaves are heart shaped and the entire plant has a soft appearance, with small purple flowers that bloom from June to September. Strawberry clover is more expensive than red or white Clover and can be difficult to find in local nurseries. It does not have additional benefits for sheep compared to other types of clover.
Generally, all the different types can be considered good for sheep, but there are a few notable differences between them.
Red Clover is also known for its high protein content, which can be as high as 20%, compared to the 6-7% average of most other grasses. Additionally, Red Clover has a high calcium and potassium content at 4% and 2.5% respectively, which is comparable to the levels found in alfalfa (8-16% Ca, 4-9% K). Additionally, red clover contains Rubisco (Rubisco Isocitrate Lyase), an enzyme that allows it to fix CO2 into sugar molecules through the process of photosynthesis. This makes red clover particularly good for sheep who have low level of legume tolerance or have not been exposed to clovers or legumes before.
White clover is one of the most abundant species of clovers used in the agricultural industry today because of its easy access and relatively low cost compared to other types of clovers. It has a stronger calcium content than red clover at 4%, but its overall protein content is quite low compared to red at only 2%. This can make white more difficult for animals who are not used to eating plants such as white clover; however, it does not require tryptophane supplementation in order for it to be utilized by livestock.
Great Vegetables For Sheep
Here is a list of some vegetables that are good to feed your sheep:
Cabbage is a good source of Vitamin A, and therefore it can add extra nutrition to your sheep’s diet.
Carrot is a good source of vitamin A, which helps in the development of eyes, bones and other important organs. Also, it can provide nutrition to your sheep during winter months when they are not grazing on green pasture. The phytoestrogens in carrots help strengthen reproductive systems in ewes and rams.
Cucumber is a good source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C, both of which help to maintain healthy skin in sheep.
Lettuce: Lettuce provides a good source of beta-carotene and Vitamin A, both of which are essential for the growth and development of young animals. Lettuce also provides some Vitamin B, which helps to maintain healthy hair in your sheep.
Kale is similar to turnips and is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A and calcium.