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  #1  
Old 01/31/08, 08:58 PM
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sheep poop

so the question came up today: Why is sheep poop in the tiny little balls, like a rabbits or goats? I mean, what makes it ball up like that?

...so they all turn to me for the answer because I raise sheep; I don't know the answer.

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  #2  
Old 02/01/08, 04:25 AM
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LOL, so you stand around talking about sheep poop? I guess it beats politics and religon!

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  #3  
Old 02/01/08, 07:33 AM
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....actually, we were talking about the pending election and someone said who they thought they were going to vote or, and someone else said that ain't crap. Then the topic change.... so you see, it's all relative!

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  #4  
Old 02/01/08, 08:09 AM
 
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Slev...Sure sounds like a much better topic to me !!


Rose....isn't that the truth, all too funny !!

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  #5  
Old 02/01/08, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liese
LOL, so you stand around talking about sheep poop? I guess it beats politics and religon!

Im not sure I see any difference
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  #6  
Old 02/03/08, 12:46 AM
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so, you mean like with all of this sheep knowledge on here I'm gonna have to go back to work on Monday and tell them nobody on here knows why sheep poop comes in round little balls???

bummer, I was hoping someone on here knew...

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  #7  
Old 02/03/08, 09:43 AM
 
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Well Slev,

I do not know for sure why sheep and other critters poop in berries or pellets.
It doesn't seem to only be species specific since it is not just the small ruminants who have similar poops.
However large ruminants-cows, who consume an incredible amount of water have no similarity in their waste.

It must be due to the ingredients in their diets and maybe the amount of water in the digestion process ?

I do notice that extra protein in the sheep's diet seems to loosen it too.

Just a guess, I will ask my daughter who majored in animal science at Cornell and see if she has any ideas.

Perhaps these people need more things to challenge them at work

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  #8  
Old 02/03/08, 10:31 AM
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lol, i asked your question on .... yahoo answers, lets see what comes up, i will post all answers later today

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  #9  
Old 02/03/08, 10:53 AM
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I'd say it may have something to do with being a ruminant, but then there's no explanation for cows. Seems to be that cows are the strange ones in the group.

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  #10  
Old 02/03/08, 11:00 AM
 
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I think that cows drop huge wet 'berries'.. It is not anything--shape or form --like a dog or human! It is just much larger and much wetter than deer, goat, sheep or rabbit!

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  #11  
Old 02/03/08, 01:24 PM
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Simple, sheep like to sleep on the hilltops during the twilight hours. If the poop is round it will roll down the hill, thus keeping their bed clean. I think it's similar in a way to why dogs go in a circle before bedding down. It;s all about the circle of life.

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  #12  
Old 02/03/08, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendle
Simple, sheep like to sleep on the hilltops during the twilight hours. If the poop is round it will roll down the hill, thus keeping their bed clean. I think it's similar in a way to why dogs go in a circle before bedding down. It;s all about the circle of life.
Hmmm, maybe an evolution thing - the ones who have looser stools die more quickly from bacterial infections & footrot, so the ones that have the berries live longer/reproduce more?
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  #13  
Old 02/03/08, 01:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendle
Simple, sheep like to sleep on the hilltops during the twilight hours. If the poop is round it will roll down the hill, thus keeping their bed clean. I think it's similar in a way to why dogs go in a circle before bedding down. It;s all about the circle of life.

ABSOLUTELY ....THAT' S IT !!!
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  #14  
Old 02/03/08, 02:32 PM
 
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Well dear daughter said that even at Cornell University they never taught her why, LOL....


I really think you need to go by Wendle's great explanation

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  #15  
Old 02/03/08, 03:45 PM
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ok here are the two answers i got

1 i believe its because of the shape of the intestines. the skinnier they are, the smalller the pieces. also, those animals abosrb alot of moisture from their food, so its drier, thus holding the "ball" shape.

2 Not quite sure, although the above answer seems sensible. The movement of the feces through the intestines may cause the fecal material to bond together in small particles that are mechanically manipulated in such a way as to tend to form balls. The dryness of the feces is certainly a factor, as are the small pieces of partially digested plant matter. Sheep, goats, alpacas and rabbits all produce drier poop than horses, which may explain why horse feces are larger, looser balls compared to the pellets the former produce.

Here is a link to an article with more information than you ever wanted about feces shapes in the mammal kingdom. Pretty neat stuff, actually.

http://www.scielo.br/pdf/mioc/v98s1/v98s...

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  #16  
Old 02/03/08, 03:46 PM
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Probably so they can roll any poop away from that single grain of barley only they can see. Or its a winter defense mechanism where they carpet thier routes with berries that then freeze into deadly little ball bearings to thwart capture. I know like goats and bunnies they're very efficient ruminants making better use of feedstuffs than cattle, so it's likely something to do with that extra ability to digest vegitable matter.

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  #17  
Old 02/03/08, 07:29 PM
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another answer for you

The muscles of the digestive tract. Ever hear your stomach grumble? It is the muscles in our digestive tract moving the food around. With animals it is the same, and many herbivores poop in little round balls, and some not so little. Other animals which you may not have seen are horses, deer, elk, mountain sheep, mountain goats and moose. If I remember right, Nutria and muskrats have an elongated shape, as well as mice, rats, gerbils and hamsters.
The muscles used to push the food through from the stomach, on these animals make it round or oval shaped

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  #18  
Old 02/03/08, 11:18 PM
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...well there ya go, now don't we all feel smarter! And I'm glad that I can return to work tomorrow and give them some sort of answer. Thank you one and all... I like all of the ideas!

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