Many farmers raise flocks of sheep for a variety of benefits such as meat, dairy, and fiber products. And relative to the many products they offer, they are actually typically low maintenance. They can feed almost anywhere and can thrive even in extreme weather. However, this does not mean that we can make the tending and care due them any less. Remember that the best performing sheep is well-maintained and well-fed. Therefore, we should make it a point to invest in the best equipment, such as automatic sheep feeders.
The best automatic feeders for sheep at present are products of continuous technological innovations. For one, they cut down manual labor for the multiple times per day that we have to do the feeding. Also, they can already be programmed to suit our likes and our sheep’s needs. This needs include the concern for climate, as mentioned, as well as for power. These are some of the best automatic sheep feeders:
1. BioControl Sheep Feeder, SF60
2. Feed-Smart Automatic Livestock Feeder
3. Feedtech Feeding Systems Auto Sheep Feeder
4. Thunder Valley S1800 Shepherd Automatic Feeder
5. Quick Feed Automatic Electronic Feeder
6. Quick Feed Automatic Electronic Feeder with Battery Adapter
7. Quick Feed Solar Powered Automatic Feeder
8. Alexander Livestock Solar Feeder 1000
9. Alexander Livestock Solar Feeder 1000G
10. Alexander Livestock Solar Feeder 2500
We can always opt to hand-feed our sheep if we like and if we have the luxury of time. However, as soon as the flock grows, we may find it taxing, in the long run, to keep doing it. Therefore, we may need to invest in high-quality automatic feeders. This will make our sheep farm production optimal and will keep our sheep thriving. Who knows, with the help of automatic feeders, our small hobby farm may grow into a big commercial one?
BioControl Sheep Feeder, SF60
The Sheep Feeder, SF60, is a feeding station that dispenses sheep feed according to the settings we can program. With the controller, we can choose the feeding frequency and duration, and the amount of feed to dispense. These settings, moreover, can be set for the entire flock, into groups, or for single sheep. This feature will ensure that each sheep receives precise nutrition in the most efficient way.
Basically, this feeder allows us to dispense the right amount of concentrate feed, depending on the information we set. For instance, for individual sheep feeding plans, we can input weight, age, number of embryos for ewes, and the like.
Aside from that, we can make sure that each sheep is able to feed. This is by the settings that allow us to set how long a single sheep can feed. This is precisely done by the RFID ear tag, which the feeder checks to see if a sheep should be fed. If it reads that the sheep can be fed, the back gate will close. This is to provide a quiet space for the sheep to eat in. Once done, the back gate will open for the new sheep to enter and eat alone.
This feeding station can accommodate about 100 sheep making it among the larger automatic sheep feeders. Certainly, one control unit can run a number of feeding stations and treat data for a hundred members flock. One feeding station externally measures 2×0.8×1 meters. The internal measurements of the feeding station, on one hand, can be adjusted to fit our sheep.
Feed-Smart Automatic Livestock Feeder
This feeder is primarily made of galvanized steel finish to last us decades of feeding our sheep. It is mainly totally self-contained and is powered by solar energy for reliability. In line with this, we can make sure that our sheep will be fed no matter the weather.
With this feeder, we can feed our flocks up to six times per day. This makes it among the most efficient automatic sheep feeders. However, it is more ideal to only feed sheep up around four times per day. It really just depends on the weather, and the amount of food the sheep get every time. For one, during winter, sheep cannot go out to graze in pastures. Thus, they can only get nutrition from the food we feed them.
Another great thing about this feeder is that it keeps the food stay fresh inside the hopper for weeks. This is as the feed moves every time the feeder dispenses it. This feeder is more ideal for loose dry feed, such as uncoated pellets or oats.
Feedtech Feeding Systems Auto Sheep Feeder
Feedtech Feeding Systems actually has several designs of automatic sheep feeders. They feature 240v, both available in single-phase and three phases. Solar power units are available as well that give Bluetooth connectivity for battery and solar status. Primarily, the feeders’ construction is solid and galvanized, made to last long under extreme weather conditions. They have 3 meters trough sections that allow us to extend our feed system. Also, their PVC height can be adjusted to either increase or decrease the amount of feed in the trough.
Moreover, the feeders feature wire retainers that run wires over and below the trough when setting up pens. There are also 24-hour timers that can be activated to stop and start on Auto or Manual modes. On the whole, the feeders are easy to install and assemble for our convenience. The size can also fit in a field bin or to silo.
Thunder Valley S1800 Shepherd Automatic Feeder
This feeder is probably among the longest automatic sheep feeders. It has an 18.3 meters trough, which connects to any existing field bin or feeders. This makes it a great choice for supplementary paddock feeding and feedlots.
Typically, the S1800 shepherd auto feeder comes standard with solar power. It has an induction program with 150 lamb capacity. It also has a production program with 500 lamb capacity, usually used to accommodate a lot more.
Moreover, this feeder features a 1.2 meters wide roof. It also has fully adjustable brackets that we can utilize for ration control. Aside from that, we can avail as well as dual grain bin, remote camera, and Remote Management.
Quick Feed Automatic Electronic Feeder
Quick Feed actually has a line of automatic sheep feeders as well as other livestock and pet feeders. This one, in particular, can hold up to 50 pounds of pellets or grain, and 25 pounds of cat or dog food. It can dispense food up to 12 times every day and up to 5 cups of food each feeding. We can operate it simply by plugging the transformer into a 110-volt electric outlet and connect to the feeder.
Moreover, this feeder features a built-in timer that is fully programmable. It also comes with 2-AA batteries to back up memory and snap-lock lid. It has as well 2 inches PVC pipe and fittings. Also, it comes complete with a 12-volt transformer and instruction manual for easy installation and operation. On the whole, this feeder measures 28x16x9 inches and weighs about 9 pounds.
Quick Feed Automatic Electronic Feeder with Battery Adapter
This automatic sheep feeder is of the same line as the previous one. It can accommodate sheep, other livestock, and pets. It measures 28x16x9 inches and weighs about 9 pounds as well. With that size, its capacity can hold up to 50 pounds of grain or pellets, and 25 pounds of cat or dog food. It can be set to dispense once to 12 times per day. And each feeding, we can set from one to five cups of food for it to dispense.
Moreover, it comes complete with a timer that is built-in and programmable. It also comes with 2-AA batteries to back up memory as well as a snap-lock lid. It has 2 inches PVC pipe and fittings, an instructional manual, and a 12-volt transformer. However, unlike the previous feeder unit, this one comes with a 12-volt battery adapter.
Quick Feed Solar Powered Automatic Feeder
This automatic sheep feeder unit is also on the same line as the previous two. However, it has more features that are unique to it. For one, we can operate this unit from a 12-volt extended life dry cell battery. This is best for extremely cold weather when we have either an unreliable power or zero power at all. Its solar charger maintains the battery but without overcharging it.
Moreover, like the previous feeder unit, this one can be used in the barn for sheep and other livestock. It can also be used in the house for our dog or cat pets if there are any. Its dimensions are 28x16x10 inches. It is also double the weight of the previous feeder at about 16 pounds. With these measures, it can hold up to 50 pounds of pellets or grain, or 25 pounds of cat or dog food. It also can dispense up to 12 times each day and up to 5 cups of food per feeding.
Upon purchase, we can expect it to be complete with a built-in programmable timer. It also has a snap-lock lid, 2-AA batteries to back up memory, and 2 inches PVC pipe and fittings. And as mentioned, it has an extended life 12-volt battery and solar charger, which is an up over the previous one. Naturally, it also has an instruction manual to guide us upon installation and operation.
Alexander Livestock Solar Feeder 1000
Alexander Livestock is also a line that offers several designs and models of automatic sheep feeders. For one is this Solar Feeder 1000 model. It is made of heavy 14 gauge steel finish and can hold up to 1,000 pounds of feed. For stability, it has pegs at each corner so that we can secure the unit immediately after setting it up.
Moreover, this feeder unit’s mechanism involves the use of an electronic timer that is programmable. We can set it so that it dispenses a certain amount of feed in certain times we want to conduct feedings. It also comes with a 12-volt battery system that is charged by the solar panel. This gives us a guarantee that we have a reliable power and delivery no matter the weather condition. It also has an optional agitating motor kit, which we can add for sticky feeds.
In addition, its highway reflectors help make sure that towing is safe. It also has a standard farm hitch, and a sturdy feed shutoff handle to reduce spillage during transport. Also, it has a removable tongue to protect us from theft when we are not on our farm or pasture.
Alexander Livestock Solar Feeder 1000G
This feeder unit is almost similar to the previous one in the same Alexander Livestock line. However, this one has guards that will keep our sheep from climbing on the feed trough. Same as the previous one though, it is made of tough 14 gauge steel finish. It is also equipped with high reflectors for highway safety during transport. Also, it has a sturdy feed shut-off handle so that we can prevent spills also during transport. Then, it has a removable tongue that will prevent theft when we are not around in the farm or pasture.
Moreover, this feeder unit has a standard farm hitch. It comes as well with a 12-volt battery system and a solar panel. The solar panel will keep the battery charging and allow for automatic feed delivery in any weather condition. Same as the previous unit as well, it has an optional agitating motor kit that can be used for sticky feeds.
Alexander Livestock Solar Feeder 2500
This Solar Feeder 2500 is the most popular model of the Alexander Livestock line. It can be used to feed sheep, cattle, deer, and even tough bulls and buffalos. It is made of a heavy 12 gauge steel finish that is tough enough to withstand strong forces. Its capacity is huge, with up to 2,500 pounds in size, equivalent to roughly 32 linear feet trough.
As the previous two feeder units, this one features a programmable timer and a fully adjustable spinning plate. These will allow us to set the duration and the amount of feed to be dispensed during each feeding. It comes with a 12-volt battery system that is charged and powered by a solar panel. This ensures that we have a reliable power supply to keep operating even in nasty weather conditions.
Additionally, this unit features pegs at each corner for stability after setup. It also has an optional agitating motor kit for sticky feeds. Also, it has a highway lighting and removable tongue to ensure safety during highway towing. The removable tongue also functions by preventing theft during our absence in the farm or pasture. We can also avail of a Clovis hitch upon request. Moreover, the feeder has a feed shut-off handle to make sure that there is no loss of feed during transport.
What do sheep typically feed on?
Practically, the best and cheapest sheep feed comes from the pasture. However, not all pastures are the same. Poor quality pastures of course, may not suffice to provide for the sheep’s diet. This is why some commercial sheep farms have what is called “improved pasture”. This pasture is one that has non-native plant species that are specially bred for their best qualities. For example, if it has optimum production, satisfies the sheep’s palate, and has a quick growth rate.
Commonly, plant species such as ryegrass, clovers, cocksfoot, phalaris, and the like are used in “improved pastures.” It can be expensive to establish and maintain a pasture. However, it is still relatively better and cheaper than pellets, grains, or hay. Also, these three, called “supplementary feeds,” can be used only to top up when the pasture is insufficient. Usually, it happens during late summer, late winter, and during drought or when there is waterlogging.
What do we do when we have inadequate pastures?
Inadequate pasture occurs for a reason, including weather and the type of soil in the area. If we have this type of pasture, we can top it up by adding supplementary feeds on our sheep’s diet. We can consider providing our flocks with pellets or a combination of hay and grain. However, it is important to note that the introduction of these feeds should be gradual. If we do it too much or too quickly, we can risk sickness to our sheep. They may even get killed with “grain poisoning”.
To be sure, oats, pellets, or whole lupins are less likely to risk grain poisoning. This is in relation to triticale, barley, or wheat. Also, we should make it a point to only feed our sheep pellets that are specifically formulated for sheep. We should never use cattle pellets as they contain extra copper, which is toxic for sheep. Also, we should never use pig or poultry pellets as they are illegal for their meat or meat product content.