Baking Soda For Sheep?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by debra in nm, Sep 9, 2004.

  1. debra in nm

    debra in nm Member

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    Hello, woolfolk. I'm a goat gal but do have a few sheep. I put baking soda out free choice for my goats for any digestive troubles they think they might have. My question: is this useful for sheep, too? Thanks in advance, debra in nm
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Yes and it helps cattle too. Never had much luck offering it free choice but I add "some" to their mixed grains. About a coffee can to 150 pounds, I usually have to look up dosages every time I change things.
     

  3. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    Yes, it works well for both sheep and goats. I usually mixed it with their water.
     
  4. shepmom

    shepmom Well-Known Member

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    I put it in a bowl and let the blackbellies eat it free choice as needed.
     
  5. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

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    I also put it out free choice in a bowl. Baking soda is alkaline, and is supposed to keep the rumen from getting to acidic.
     
  6. primroselane

    primroselane Well-Known Member

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    How do you know the rumen is too acidic? How do you know you are not making the rumen too alkaline?
     
  7. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

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    The rumen is mostly a self-regulating organ, but we all know that occasionally, it can become too acidic and the sheep can bloat. I guess the baking soda idea goes with the arguable theory that they will ingest what they need, just like from the mineral blocks most of us provide.
    The theory is if the sheep feels a belly ache coming on, they will eat a little baking soda. I know mine come in off the pasture and some will take just a few licks out of the bowl. I've never seen them ingest more than that at a time. Certain times of year they go through more than others times, just like mineral. I have had one bloat since I've started putting it out, so I guess it's not a given that providing it will prevent all cases of acidosis. But it may have prevented more cases and I've never heard of it causing harm.
     
  8. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

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    Actually, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) acts as a buffer. It will soak up a LOT of either acid or alkali before things swing too far from neutral; but is so mild that it won't swing things much itself. In fact, you can buy it in bulk from feed stores under names such as "digestive buffer" or variants on that theme.
     
  9. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

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    Good information, Don, thank you. :) I've seen it sold as "Rumen Buffer". I just buy good ol' Arm & Hammer at the grocery store.