Merck Manual

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Nutrition: Sheep

By

David G. Pugh

, DVM, MS, Auburn University

Last full review/revision Aug 2020 | Content last modified Sep 2020

The economical and efficient production of sheep for meat, wool, show and/or pets is contingent on proper feeding, husbandry practices, and health care. All of these are influenced by dietary intake. Maintenance of breeding animals, a high percentage of the lamb crop weaned, growth of lambs, optimal weaning weights, and a heavy fleece weight and fleece quality are important to efficiency. The nutritional requirements for maintenance, reproduction, growth, finishing, and wool production are complex because sheep are maintained under a wide variety of environmental conditions; however, attempts should be made to ensure each production unit or individual sheep has adequate nutrient intake to be healthy and productive.

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