sheep-with-lamb

Can Sheep Eat Bread?

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Bread is a wonderful and classic snack for us. We all love a piping hot slice of bread or roll with dinner.

Some animals love bread as well. Are sheep part of the animals that love bread?

People say that sheep can eat anything and should eat bread. Is that true? Can sheep eat bread?

Sheep should not eat bread as it often contains some animal-based ingredients such as eggs, or dairy products and sheep are herbivorous.

sheep-with-lamb

Sheep also get very little nutrition from bread. Too much bread can upset the stomach of your sheep, so you should avoid giving bread to your sheep.

What are the nutrient requirements of sheep and why can’t they eat bread? What snack can you give to sheep? Continue reading.

Feeding Bread to Sheep

Sheep are ruminants and herbivores. This means that sheep eat plants and they have a rumen where microbes help them to digest their food.

As herbivores, sheep should not eat foods made from eggs, dairy, or animal products.

Bread is not strictly plant-based, so it can cause nutrient deficiency or even stomach upset in sheep.

Sheep Nutritional Needs

Sheep need protein to grow. Bread does not contain as many proteins as sheep need.

Bread contains loads of carbohydrates, and too many carbohydrates can lead to stomach upset in sheep. This simply means that giving too much bread to sheep will not help their growth (as bread contains few proteins) and will harm them (as bread contains a lot of carbohydrates).

different kinds of breads on a wooden table

Can Sheep Have a Little Bread?

Here are reasons why you should not feed your sheep with bread:

  • Bread May Be Made with Egg and Dairy Products: Sheep are herbivores and cannot digest it the way they digest leaves and hay.
  • Bread has Very Few Proteins for Your Sheep: Bread is mostly carbohydrates and it is not so healthy for sheep.
  • Bread Can Upset the Stomach of Your Sheep: Eating too much bread can be harmful to sheep as it can cause stomach upset and other problems.
  • Giving Sheep A Lot of Bread Can Cause Lactic Acidosis: Bread is made of grains such as wheat and a grain overload in sheep can lead to lactic acidosis.
  • Too Much Bread Can Lead to Obesity: Aside from lactic acidosis, grain overload can also lead to obesity. Your sheep can get sick or fat when they overeat bread.

If you do give bread to your sheep, give it as treats in small amounts and not as part of their regular diet.

white sheep eating carrot

What Can Sheep Eat?

Here are examples of some recommended foods for sheep:

  • Pasture: Give your sheep access to pasture as they love eating grass from the open field. They can help you to keep your field neat.
  • Hay: If there is no or little pasture, you should give your sheep hay.
  • Sheep Pellets: Sheep pellets are great for sheep as they contain all the nutrients that sheep need. Sheep pellets are made of ingredients such as grass, fiber, and minerals.
  • Seeds and Grains: What’s a complete sheep diet without their grains? You should supplement their diet with grains especially when they are young or pregnant. However, do not give too many grains to sheep. Moderation is best.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: You can give as many vegetables as you can to sheep. As for fruits, only give fruits as treats.

Some awesome treat ideas for sheep are:

  • Oats
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Squash
  • Lettuce
  • Pumpkin
  • Carrot sticks
  • Watermelon
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Alfalfa cubes or pellets

Awesome treat ideas, right? Which will you give to your sheep?

Sheep eating together inside the barn

Related Questions and Answers

1. What Are Some Tips to Raising Sheep?

Want to raise sheep successfully? Use the tips below:

  • Provide Clean Water: Clean water is essential to sheep and every other living thing. You should not give water that you wouldn’t drink to your sheep. Remember to wash their water trough regularly. Also, ensure that their water source (pond, lake, etc.) is good enough for them.
  • Do Not Feed Sheep with Animal Products: Sheep are not carnivores nor omnivores. They are herbivores. You should give your sheep only plants and plant products.
  • Give Your Sheep Access to Pasture: Sheep love their grasses fresh. They prefer eating grass directly to eating feed from a trough. You should ensure that your sheep can eat fresh grass at some point.
  • Protect Your Sheep from Predators: Predators and thieves can steal or harm your sheep. You should fence your yard and protect your sheep.
  • Do Not Abruptly Change Your Sheep’s Diet: If you are planning to change the diet of your sheep, do not change the diet abruptly as the microbes in their rumen are accustomed to the previous food. What you should do is to introduce the new food gradually before stopping the old food over 2-3 weeks. This will help the population of microbes in the rumen that can digest the new food to quickly grow.

Awesome tips, right?

2. Can Sheep Eat Any Household Food?

Sheep eating from the hand.

Sheep can eat some household foods. Examples are:

  • Fruit Peel and Rinds: You can give fruits to sheep. Instead of throwing the fruit peels and rinds away, you can also give them to sheep.
  • Beans and Peas: Sheep love their legumes. Beans and peas are good for sheep as they are rich in proteins.
  • Leafy Greens: Do you have spare vegetables? Why not give them to sheep?

Make sure that you are giving only plants or plant-based ingredients to your sheep.

3. Can Sheep Eat Chicken Feed?

Sheep cannot and should not eat chicken feed. Chicken feed (processed feed) is made up of both plant and animal-based ingredients such as mealworms and sheep are strict herbivores.

Chickens are omnivores, so they can eat a wider range of food. Do not feed your sheep with chicken feed.

4. Do Sheep Need Salt Blocks?

Sheep licking salt block in the field.

Sheep need salt blocks to make up for any mineral loss. Salt blocks contain a lot of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, etc. to help with the ionic balance of your sheep.

You should provide white salt blocks to your sheep especially when you do not give your sheep supplemental feed such as pellets.

Be sure to only give white salt blocks to your sheep and not the red blocks meant for cattle. Red salt blocks contain levels of copper that are too high for sheep and can be toxic.

5. What Animals Can Eat Bread?

Various animals can eat bread. Make sure that you give them bread as treats, not as their regular diet. Some examples of animals that can eat bread are:

  • Rodents
  • Chickens
  • Ducks
  • Pigs
  • Pheasants

Remember to give bread as treats.

I hope that you have found the answer to your question.

Final Thoughts

Sheep should not eat bread as bread is not safe for them. If you do give bread to sheep, give them just a small quantity.

You should give your sheep natural treats such as fruits as opposed to processed treats such as bread.

Sources

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