Lets face it, our sheep are not “livestock” they are pets, they are my pets and I love them dearly. Therefore, they get treats. Mostly they get treats at night so they know that when they come in to their brand new stalls they get fed something delicious and will hopefully spark them to come in on their own every night without having to get the dog to round them up in the dark. So far, we are about 90% to that goal. When I adopted Mr. Beasley from the humane society, they sent me home with three bags of Goat treats. They had been feeding them to him and he had a dispensing toy that would give them to him as he pushed it around. No toy for us, but the treats, why not. So we started giving them to him at night. We did this routinely for a little over a month until my husband read the bag. “DO NOT GIVE TO SHEEP, CONTAINS COPPER”. I’ll do a blog post about this in the future, but basically copper can be very toxic to sheep. They process it extremely slow and when they get stressed or sick, their bodies release it all at once and it can cause toxicity and them to die. So after lots of panic, calls to the vet and a sleepless night, we learned to be extremely careful about what you give the sheep.
Treats went straight into the garbage and now, the sheep were treat-less. I’m too cheep and didn’t want to buy the organic horse treats that were made out of only apple and molasses so I decided to make my own.
This is our first experiment with our handy dandy dehydrator, although tested on sheep food, I’m excited to use it for human food in the future. I took some left over apples from the orchard and some carrots from making soups and sliced them up very thin and placed on the trays.
There is only an on/off switch on this one. Well not even that, its either plugged in and on or its unplugged and off. So I plugged this puppy in, and let it do its thing. The book it came with gave a generous 3-9 hour dehydrating time for the fruit. So at 3:30am I got out of bed, checked on it and decided to unplug it. Apples and carrots looked dried out to me.
Tonight, will be the ultimate test. We’ll see if the little guys will accept these as treats. There are some other recipes out there with mixing in molasses and oats and fruit then drying them out. I’ll have to experiment with those next time.
You may ask, why don’t you just give them fresh apples and fresh carrots? Well, I’ve tried that. The apples weren’t a hit but Mr. Beasley did like the carrots but, sheep only have one set of teeth. They have itty bitty bottom teeth and a hard calloused gum on the top which I think makes it harder for them to take a bite out of a carrot. I could be wrong but why not make it easy for them.