Sheep winter housing

Sheepbadge

Member
Livestock Farmer
Morning all, just working out plans for winter grazing this year, a bit a head but nice to know what options we have. in a moderate winter our ground is completely saturated from January - March, we have an abundance of sheds so are toying with the ideas of winter housing our ewes from couple of weeks after scanning and turning out 2 weeks prior to lambing.


Realistically how many ewes could we comfortably fit in a 300m2 shed with feed rails along one side?
ewes will be fed wrapped hay and haylage no wet silage no concentrates just feed blocks. Has anyone bedded them on fresh wood chip? Failing that it would have to be straw. If so how many quadrant bales do you think would be needed for this area fully stocked with ewes?
A lot of questions but we’ve never winter housed sheep before always out wintered on tack, but would like to try and keep all on farm to generate some muck.
 

Sheepbadge

Member
Livestock Farmer
@Nithsdale Farmer Haven’t looked into slats although that sounds like a good option. it’s a tenanted farm on a short term tenancy so looking at low investment... @MDL POWERUP are slats easy to install on level type one barn floors? And would there be a market for the slats if we were to loose the tenancy?
 

hally

Member
Location
cumbria
You will get well over 200 lowland ewes in that space on straw more on slats but they will need 0.5m each feed space unless you have a diet feeder which often limits your stocking rate
 

merino

Member
Location
The North East
300m2 divided by 1.2m2 per 70kg ewe is 250 ewes. At 0.2m per ewe that's 50m of feed face.

300m2 divided by 1.4m2 per 90kg ewe is 214 ewes. At 0.2m per ewe that's 42m of feed face.

You'll need to measure that one side of the shed to check if it's long enough.

You need to take out the area for water troughs, feed troughs etc, to make sure that things are correct.
 
Tried wood chips but after putting in a foot deep layer it capped so i borrowed a garden rotavator to mix it up plus it was difficult to put on fresh using the tractor loader bucket as i had to spread with a shovel , takes a while to rot down when cleaned out . Left the chips for a second winter , i skimmed the dirty top off and put straw on top
 

unlacedgecko

Member
Livestock Farmer
@Nithsdale Farmer Haven’t looked into slats although that sounds like a good option. it’s a tenanted farm on a short term tenancy so looking at low investment... @MDL POWERUP are slats easy to install on level type one barn floors? And would there be a market for the slats if we were to loose the tenancy?
There's a thread where a chap in a similar situation put the slats on 6" columns of twin wall pipe. Seemed to work very well.

Or speak to @NZDan about outdoor slats. If you're housing them, shear them beforehand and you can increase the stocking rate by 20%.
 

hally

Member
Location
cumbria
There's a thread where a chap in a similar situation put the slats on 6" columns of twin wall pipe. Seemed to work very well.

Or speak to @NZDan about outdoor slats. If you're housing them, shear them beforehand and you can increase the stocking rate by 20%.
Depends where you live, letting out shorn sheep after lambing around here would be a disaster
 

Sheepbadge

Member
Livestock Farmer
You will get well over 200 lowland ewes in that space on straw more on slats but they will need 0.5m each feed space unless you have a diet feeder which often limits your stocking rate
Why feed blocks? If they're at the stage when they need more than haylage, then ewe rolls would be significantly cheaper I would think.
Our scanning is not overly amazing around 150%mark as run hill type ewes and when out wintering just tend to give them feed blocks and haylage, they seem to do ok, as trying to stay as close to a forage based system
 

MJT

Member
Morning all, just working out plans for winter grazing this year, a bit a head but nice to know what options we have. in a moderate winter our ground is completely saturated from January - March, we have an abundance of sheds so are toying with the ideas of winter housing our ewes from couple of weeks after scanning and turning out 2 weeks prior to lambing.


Realistically how many ewes could we comfortably fit in a 300m2 shed with feed rails along one side?
ewes will be fed wrapped hay and haylage no wet silage no concentrates just feed blocks. Has anyone bedded them on fresh wood chip? Failing that it would have to be straw. If so how many quadrant bales do you think would be needed for this area fully stocked with ewes?
A lot of questions but we’ve never winter housed sheep before always out wintered on tack, but would like to try and keep all on farm to generate some muck.
Slats would be a fair outlay initially but you would save a fortune on straw. However you wouldn’t actually generate that much muck, it goes more like a dark compost and doesn’t go very far when spread .For example we house and lamb 300 ewes on slats from January until March. Then lamb another 1100 on them for 4 weeks in March and April.....cleaned out every 5-6 years and wouldn’t have more than 30 8 ton trailers in whole shed.

Having the slats in sections that you can remove and store if you want to use sheds for other things will be key to it.
 
Our scanning is not overly amazing around 150%mark as run hill type ewes and when out wintering just tend to give them feed blocks and haylage, they seem to do ok, as trying to stay as close to a forage based system
I've used blocks before as a supplement when grass is tight on lambing fields and they have their place but you're basically feeding concentrates in a more expensive form. The ewes might eat more out of boredom when inside as well.

I think your plan is basically a good one BTW.
 

Sheepbadge

Member
Livestock Farmer
Slats would be a fair outlay initially but you would save a fortune on straw. However you wouldn’t actually generate that much muck, it goes more like a dark compost and doesn’t go very far when spread .For example we house and lamb 300 ewes on slats from January until March. Then lamb another 1100 on them for 4 weeks in March and April.....cleaned out every 5-6 years and wouldn’t have more than 30 8 ton trailers in whole shed.

Having the slats in sections that you can remove and store if
I've used blocks before as a supplement when grass is tight on lambing fields and they have their place but you're basically feeding concentrates in a more expensive form. The ewes might eat more out of boredom when inside as well.

I think your plan is basically a good one BTW.
that’s it that’s what we’ve used them for and while they’re on tack as a top up. But if they were housed they would have haylage fed every day so no reason why they couldn’t have rolls instead of feed blocks
 

MDL POWERUP

Member
Look at putting in plastic slats?

You'll not generate as much muck - but there's no bedding costs and you'll reduce the workload. Slats are supposed keep their feet much healthier and you will can put more sheep in each pen reducing shed space needed

@MDL POWERUP is the person to speak to
@Nithsdale Farmer Haven’t looked into slats although that sounds like a good option. it’s a tenanted farm on a short term tenancy so looking at low investment... @MDL POWERUP are slats easy to install on level type one barn floors? And would there be a market for the slats if we were to loose the tenancy?
They are as simple or as complicated as you want to make them! Obviously the floor being level helps. We have people mount them on breeze blocks or old sleepers when the ground is not concreted. They really are easy to fit together. You can have them directly onto the floor if it's reasonably stable and level you just don't get a huge amount of storage space. But they are easy to lift this way and wouldn't require any fixings. They're going up in price shortly due to extortionate shipping and a lot of other firms have held back from ordering because of this so I would like to think you'd get most if not all your money back if you were to sell in a year's time!
 

unlacedgecko

Member
Livestock Farmer
They are as simple or as complicated as you want to make them! Obviously the floor being level helps. We have people mount them on breeze blocks or old sleepers when the ground is not concreted. They really are easy to fit together. You can have them directly onto the floor if it's reasonably stable and level you just don't get a huge amount of storage space. But they are easy to lift this way and wouldn't require any fixings. They're going up in price shortly due to extortionate shipping and a lot of other firms have held back from ordering because of this so I would like to think you'd get most if not all your money back if you were to sell in a year's time!
What sort of price?
 

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