Lush pasture & bloat question

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by mucklingmom, Jul 15, 2004.

  1. mucklingmom

    mucklingmom Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    Hi, gang!
    I just picked up my 4 Southdown sheep from the breeder yesterday :) , and turned them out onto the lovely, lush pasture we had prepared for them. I have 2 yearlings and 2 lambs born in Feb. (Both sets of twins, and all ewes.) I'm getting conflicting advice about bloat. Raising Sheep the Modern Way says feeding hay in the morning before turning them out will prevent bloat to a large extent. The vet I called said to only let them eat on the lush pasture for an hour a day until the pasture is grazed down, and to keep them locked up in the barn the rest of the time. It is going to take 4 young sheep an AWFUL long time to graze down the pasture using the 1 hr. a day method. I don't think they'll even keep ahead of what's already there. And really, keeping the poor girls locked up in such beautiful summer weather is killing me! Not really what I had pictured as having sheep around. We can't see them or hear them bleating - nothing! They're acting fine, if a little hot. Their manure is on the runny side, but still solid. They were so sweet this morning - all ate out of my hand, and one gave me a kiss! Please tell me what your experience is with the bloat question. Thanks so much, in advance.
    Misty Meadows Farm, Western Washington State
  2. Well, we generally don't have to much of a bloat problem on grass pasture. It is the alfalfa that causes problems. So, what we do is make sure they have a full stomach before we let them into a pature that is lush with alfalfa. We give them hay in the morning and once they eat that then we let them into the pasture and I do lock them back up after an hour and each day we increase the time they spend in the pasture till they eat it down a bit and become more used to the lush pasture. But, we have over 100 head that we let in a pasture, so they do eat it down.

    Hope this helps a bit....

  3. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 9, 2002
    We do the same and I'll just add that all legumes Clover, Trefoil, alfalfa etc, are bloat "risks" but so is fine ground grain and pelleted feed. A ready supply of clean water helps so to does salt and mineral available all the time. I've heard leaving a pan of baking soda for them helps too, and we certaily have used baking soda in mixed rations and not seen bloat.