Sheep & water plants

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Carolinexxx, Dec 6, 2003.

  1. Carolinexxx

    Carolinexxx Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    I am thinking of getting a few sheep but as I live on a water plant the 2 acres of grazing land are all long strips of land with water beds either side. There is no way I can fence the grass from the water plants as we would not be able to run our nursery. Are water plants poisonous to sheep?

    Also the ponds have a mixture of concrete sides and soil banks so there is a few inches drop to the water but obviously more to the bottom of the ponds. Are sheep determined to hurt themselves or are they likely to steer clear as I believe they don't like going in water?
  2. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

    May 8, 2002
    central New South Wales, Australia
    Water plants in general aren't poisonous to sheep. In fact, I understand that some sheep on Scottish islands make a substantial part of their living from washed-up seaweed.

    HOWEVER, sheep don't handle wet ground well. If it's permanently damp underfoot they'll probably get footrot, which is horrible, and it would be cruel to expose them to that. They also tend to fall prey to parasites (such as liver fluke, also some worms) in damp conditions.

  3. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 9, 2002
    Some breeds handle wet ground better than others but Don noted some excellent points. Snails are the vector for liver fluke and you would have to consider that in a worming program. No doubt some water plants are poisonous, I'm no expert but I know one has digitalis and it would be as toxic to sheep as any other critter. Sheep are not tolerant of any toxic plant that I know of. Would they stay out of the water? Sure but they would try to drink from it regardless of how much you offer from a stock tank or fountain. They would eventually destroy the banks and sure enough one or two will slip in. We are slowly fencing them out of the ditches and as they ar being cleaned now we'll finish that job in the spring.