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Old 01-15-2010, 04:05 PM
1,297 posts, read 3,158,608 times
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My sheep have an affinity for Nutrena sheep grain. Even on extended pasture, I can rattle the grain bucket and the entire flock comes running, leaving the cows behind in a stampeded of tiny hooves towards me. Even now in the dead of winter their ears perk up when I rattle the grain bucket as I mix up their ration of grain and mineral mix.

So what can be so addicting about sheep grain? Just how great can it be that I can lead them to hither and nither, past acres of alfalfa with just the promise of a little grain to keep their mouths from grazing lush, high protein grass? Not sure what it was that entices them so much, I decided there was only one way to find out, and I can tell you this, it sure the heck is not based on taste.

Have you ever tasted sheep grain before?

It is a cross between ground up triscuits and broccoli. Yuck. Now surely their had to be some better tasting concoction. Figuring maybe it needed some sweetening for it to taste good, I grabbed the only thing my sheep and I agree on as far as palletability goes...molasses. Figuring I had to keep my trial true to the ovine world, I used livestock molasses, I mean the only difference between my human-version-Crosby type molasses and livestock molasses was some extra preservatives in the latter. Big mistake there. Livestock molasses tastes as bad as the sheep grain!

Even with sheep grain drizzled in a liberal amount of livestock molasses, the sheep grain left an unbearable after taste of triscuit mush and broccoli...followed by an incredible acid taste from the livestock molasses.

So my conclusions are as clear as mud. I have no idea why my sheep like sheep grain, it tastes terrible. In fact it was so bad I had to wash down the gobstopper awful taste with some fermented grain, otherwise known as beer...and for the record, no I did not get into the fermented human grain deeply before I tried tasting the sheep grain. :-)
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:50 PM
Location: Illinois
718 posts, read 1,827,254 times
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Crappy bushes, lousy grass....sheep grain.... you be the judge.
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:57 PM
Location: Eastern Washington
14,719 posts, read 45,829,256 times
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Animals will gravitate to "junk food" just like people. What's the surprise?

Anything that's packed with calories, we are programmed to prefer, because until very recently, starvation was always a very real threat, 24-7.
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Old 01-15-2010, 07:53 PM
Location: West Michigan
12,083 posts, read 34,589,709 times
Reputation: 16866
Same question could be asked about Loggers and Narraganset, or Mainers and Allens Coffee Brandy. My Father and Moxie Soda. All taste like crap with a nasty after taste, but some really like the taste. Unless we can get a sheep to spill the beans, the answer will have to be like the age old question of how many licks to get to the center of a tootsie Pop --- The World may never know.
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Old 01-16-2010, 07:36 AM
Location: Forests of Maine
31,147 posts, read 50,318,661 times
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When I first got into mixing my own livestock feed; I did play with this a bit.

Corn, barley and oats mixed in equal portions they will come to and eat. They will sniff it and slowly decide to eat the mix rather than grass. They clearly prefer it over grass.

But when I add mineral salt and feed-grade molasses into the mixture, then it takes on an entirely different life.

They can smell the molasses and taste the salt. Now they act like the feed is crack, and they are all crack-addicts.

Everyone calls it: "Sweet feed". But really feed-grade molasses has had 99.9% of the sugar removed. It is very bitter to taste. It has a very strong smell and flavour though. We think of molasses as being a source of sugar, but not so when dealing with feed-grade molasses.

A plain mixture of different grains the animals 'like'.

Add salt and coat it all with the smell and flavour of molasses, and suddenly they go out of their minds to get it. Animals that in no way would ever let you approach and tough them? So long as their muzzles are in all of the salty molasses flavour, you can touch them and rub their backs.

I have not tried it, but I have been told that you could do a feed mix with 50% sawdust, and so long as you include salt and molasses; they will go crazy for it.
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Old 01-16-2010, 01:02 PM
Location: Eastern Kentucky
1,237 posts, read 2,760,771 times
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Either they like the taste-there is no accounting for taste- or the feed has something they instinctly know they need.
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:26 AM
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,490 posts, read 52,115,106 times
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No accounting for taste. Think cat food. Our cat goes nuts over something that should be called Seafood Sunshine. Seafood that has been left in the sunhine too long. yeech!
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