by: Dr. G.F. Kennedy
I recently was asked the question about using soyhulls when the producer had a good supply of soyhulls, corn and poor quality hay and a limited supply of good alfalfa hay.
I knew that one of my associate veterinarians, Dr. Larry Goelz, had better knowledge of soyhulls than I, so I posed the question to him and this was his answer.
“Soyhulls can be used in sheep rations. Among our clients some have used a little and some have used 80% soyhulls, 20% dried distillers grain ration free choice in the lambing barn. With your given feeds you have some challenges. Soyhulls are nearly the same profile as oats. Because of the fiber they are extremely safe. At times they can be an economical choice for inclusions in rations, at other times such as this past summer they have been too expensive. The major use is in cattle creep feeds which makes them more expensive in the summer months. Soyhulls are 13% protein. If you feed a ration of soyhulls, corn and poor quality hay you will be short protein requirements in the last third of pregnancy. 1/4 pound SBOM or 1/2 to one pound good quality hay would meet protein requirements. I don’t think you need to feed the soyhulls free choice if the ewes will eat the poor quality hay. Hay would be cheaper and more rumen friendly. I would suggest bunk feeding 2 to 3 pounds of soyhulls or two pounds soyhulls and one pound of corn per day split between two feedings and feed the poor quality hay free choice with an additional 1/2 to one pound of good hay on top. Sometimes when ewes eat soyhulls rapidly they expand in the esophagus and the ewes appear to choke. Don’t intervene. They will relieve the obstruction on their own and will be okay.”