Value vs. Cost: Find the Right Feed for Your Sheep or Goats

Wellness : Nutrition

Wellness : Health

Wellness : Health

Wellness : Nutrition

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Purina Animal Nutrition

Feed is one of the largest, and most impactful, investments you’ll make into your flock or herd. Choosing the right sheep or goat feed that will develop high-value market animals and support your profit margins can be a fine line to walk.
You may be leaving a lot of opportunity on the table if you only look at the total cost per bag or ton of feed to make nutritional decisions. Understanding cost per head per day can help you better understand your feed investment and find value you might not even realize you’re missing out on.

Identify sheep and goat feed cost efficiencies and add value to your flock or herd by understanding how feed intake and cost per head per day impact your bottom line.

Digging deeper into feed intake

The recommended feeding rate can make a big difference in how far your nutrition investment goes.
If you have to feed 2 pounds per head per day of a commodity blend to get the same body condition as a complete feed with a 0.5 pound per head per day feeding rate, which one is actually the better value?

Find the true value of your feed investment by calculating the daily feed intake of sheep and goats to find the cost per head per day for your operation:

Total pounds of feed purchased / total feed per day = total # of days of feed

Total cost per ton or bag / total # of days of feed = total feed cost per day

Total feed cost per day / total head = cost per head per day

Using these calculations, a higher-priced product could pencil out to a better value (see Table 1). 

Controlling consumption

Understanding factors affecting feed intake in sheep and goats is not only important when evaluating feed cost, but it can also play a role in animal health and maintaining ideal body condition.

For example, when group feeding, boss ewes or does can be at risk for overconsumption while more timid ewes or does may not reach ideal feed intake levels, leading to over or underconditioned animals. 

Controlling feed intake supports consistent intake, which can help reduce the chance of disruptions to the rumen and ensure animals stay within recommended body condition scores.

Purina has extensively researched our Intake Modifying Technology® to condense nutrition into low consumption rates to manage intake while still ensuring animals receive the nutrients they need to perform. They only eat what they need.

Making the most of commodity blends

Every operation is different, and what works well for the farm down the road might not be the right choice for you. That’s why it’s important to calculate the cost per head per day based on your specific operation. Feeding a commodity blend for goats or sheep might make more sense for your business when you put pen to paper.

If you feed a commodity blend to your flock or herd, make sure you’re getting the most from it.

Feeding straight corn or a commodity blend to sheep and goats can leave gaps in your nutrition that could result in reduced market value of your animals. Supplementing your commodity feed with a balancer can help reduce the nutrition gap and provide additional benefits such as fly control or health and wellness support.

Ultimately, choosing the right sheep or goat feed is about more than just cost. Ask yourself these questions when evaluating your ration:
  • What are your animal growth and performance goals?
  • Are you reaching your return-on-investment goals when marketing animals?
  • Do you have your own commodities or access to consistent, well-priced commodities?
  • What feed storage and labor availability do you have?
  • Are you having challenges with animal health or reproductive performance that could be addressed with changes to your rations?
Spending some time to pencil out your cost per head per day and evaluate the most efficient and impactful ration for your flock or herd can go a long way in positively impacting your bottom line. Sign up for our e-tips to get more management and nutrition advice for sheep and goats.