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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
 

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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.
 

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ToTheBones said:
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.
How do you know the rumen is too acidic? How do you know you are not making the rumen too alkaline?
 

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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.
 

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primroselane said:
How do you know the rumen is too acidic? How do you know you are not making the rumen too alkaline?
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.
 
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