A Copper Levels in Common Feed Ingredients for Sheep fact sheet was recently published. Copper is an essential mineral for all livestock species including sheep; however, for sheep and lambs the general recommendation is no supplemental copper added to their diet. In most cases a small amount of dietary copper, 7 to 11 ppm Sheep NRC (1985), is required to support key biological roles in the body. In most circumstances the animal’s requirement for copper will be met from consumption of forages and feed grains. Complete feeds and supplements for sheep can also contain copper resulting from formulation ingredients. To minimize the risk of copper toxicity in sheep molybdenum is added to these commercially prepared products to regulate copper absorption.
This fact sheet is a great resource for both producers and nutritionists alike. It provides the copper and molybdenum levels of common sheep feed ingredients to create awareness for the importance of formulating sheep diets with minimal risk of copper toxicity. Several example diet formulations are also discussed.
For more information regarding this fact sheet and sheep nutrition, please contact Jeff Held (SDSU Extension Sheep Specialist).