Winter Sheep

Photo by Chris F on

Today was cold, north west wind gusting and the occasional snow flurry. Although the snowflakes melted the moment they touched the ground. I get concerned for the animals when we do get a cold day or two. North central Texas is no way like Colorado or Wyoming where I have lived, most days are cool requiring a coat, but not cold, cold.

Today, I kept looking at my sheep to see how they were getting along in the cold windy weather. They were happy. The 6 to 8 week old lambs were running, hopping and jumping. The ewes were eating what they could find in the pasture with an occasional run and jump with the lambs.

While I had to bundle in coat, scarf, winter hat and gloves to keep out the cold, the sheep did not seemed bothered by the sudden shift in temperatures from yesterday to today. I did not even need a light jacket yesterday to go outside.

One major items in taking care of my sheep, I make sure they have enough feed and water. We had filled all the water troughs yesterday, as the weather app said it would be cold today. The feed is grain in the morning and pasture during the day, with plenty of good hay at night. My sheep are in a body condition where they have a fat covering, and one or two ewes might be over conditioned or a little too fat. I do know I have some lambs that are over conditioned, but they are still nursing the ewe and they are growing.

Sheep that are in great condition with food and water can handle the cold even if they are hair sheep as Dorpers. I have a friend in Colorado near the Wyoming border who raises Dorpers. Like me, he keeps his sheep in good to great condition with hay available all day as his ground is covered in snow.

My sheep have a shelter they have access to even when they are on pasture. Today I was monitoring my sheep to see if they were going to stay in the shelter or graze in the pasture. If my sheep had stayed in the shelter, I would have put out hay in the morning to replace the feed loss with the sheep not grazing. The sheep can stay in the shelter and eat hay as the hay feeder and bunk are in the shelter.

I put the hay feeder and built a bunk in the shelter as we get a lot of rain at times and when it is cold the sheep can stay within the shelter and eat.

Sheep having good and great condition is determined by putting a hand on the back of the sheep, if the back bone is felt, sheep needs more feed.


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