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Is this sheep bloat / acidosis?

1062 Views 21 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Pony
I am still fairly new to sheep so would appreciate any insight.

I have a small flock of sheep and recently moved them to a new pasture (3 days ago). They had previously been receiving mostly hay with access to a small amount of grass and I would feed them about 0.75-1 lb of grain each in the morning. Since moving them, I had increased the grain slightly - just a small amount at night to help corral them into the barn. Everyone had been doing fine.

This morning, though, one of my more friendly sheep was acting... off? She usually baas at us and runs to greet us when we approach the paddock and she also tends to bully the other sheep for their grain (each sheep has their own bucket for the grain to try to make sure everyone gets their fair share and i am also terrified of bloat/acidosis). But this morning, she was completely uninterested in the grain and went straight for the water after being released from the barn. Even after drinking a good amount, she was uninterested in the grain. Which actually, while the flock tends to fight over the last bit of the grain, so far today, no one has finished the grain.

She does not look or feel bloated to my inexperienced hands. No signs of anemia that i can tell. Her eyes just look like she is a little out of it (half closed and somewhat distanced). She usually is a little more distant from the flock but has been moving with them closer than she normally does. She isn't listless, she is lying down but she will also get up and sort of trot away with the flock if they're moving, but didn't approach me like she normally does. She's been like this for 12 hours now without much change (for the good or for the worse).

Am I overthinking things? Or should I try doing something? Or should I just wait til the morning and see if this is just an off day?
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@VincentVanGoat, please let us know how your ewe is doing.
I've not had an issue with urinary calculi, haven't heard of it in females.

I think that she probably has a gut issue, and she just needs to get things moving through - and it sounds like she's made some progress, however messy, in that department.

If it were my gal, I'd hold off on grain for a couple or three days, keep her on hay and water only, and then, if you feel she needs the grain, reintroduce slowly.

Glad to read that she's improving! Thanks so much for updating us. :)
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Is the amount of grain I'm feeding too much? I know that technically they don't necessarily need it. We've gotten them recently (maybe 4-6 weeks ago) and they've looked underweight* so that is why I have been keeping up with the grain. I've been hoping that getting them to a better pasture would be helpful in the weight department. But I didn't give them any grain today and I can hold off for another day or two, probably won't hurt.

*Underweight as in can feel pelvic bones easily and kind of sunken in around the pelvic area -- reminds me a little bit of a jersey cow look. Not emaciated or anything and cant feel ribs or anything like that. They are supposedly Awassi sheep and im not sure if this is just how the breed is. Just hard for me to tell with how the wool is coming in too.
Just reading now about the body condition score and would guess that they're 2.0-3.0.
I am not familiar with your breed, and I'm totally unfamiliar with wool sheep, but I would say that, since they are not dairy, they probably should not be as thin as you are describing.

That said, I find that I am often tempted to feed as much grain as a beast will eat if they are underweight, and then I have to back off because my enthusiasm caused a bit of scouring or tummy upset.

I don't know how well it would work in woolies, but I have had great success when using a good brand of senior horse feed when trying to put weight on animals. It is highly digestible, and over the course of a few weeks, really does help to improve condition.
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