Sheep with bloat....?

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6 years 4 months ago #537028 by Wren
Sheep with bloat....? was created by Wren
Hi All - I moved our sheep into a different paddock today and 12 hours later checked on them and they all look a bit bloated. They are still running round and seem happy and sprightly enough, but I've just read a lot of scary things about bloat.

I moved them back into the paddock they were in yesterday, so just wanting to know if I've done the right thing, and is it likely to go down naturally?

Muddling our way through 1Ha on the Christchurch Port Hills, with flocks of heritage chickens, Silver Appleyard ducks, Gotland sheep, and Arapawa goats.

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6 years 4 months ago #537031 by Rokker
Replied by Rokker on topic Sheep with bloat....?
Bloated animals are generally lethargic and distressed, so if your sheep are happily running around then I wouldn't worry too much. Do you have a lot of clover or lupins in your paddocks? Bloat is caused by eating excessive amounts of legume forage such as those, rather than grass varieties.

You could put them back in the new paddock tomorrow, preferably mid to late morning when any dew has dried up, and check them for signs of bloat a couple of hours later - it only takes that long to develop in most cases.

Do NOT cross this paddock! ... Unless you can do it in 9 seconds, 'cos the bull can do it in 10!
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6 years 4 months ago #537044 by Wren
Replied by Wren on topic Sheep with bloat....?

Rokker wrote: Bloated animals are generally lethargic and distressed, so if your sheep are happily running around then I wouldn't worry too much. Do you have a lot of clover or lupins in your paddocks? Bloat is caused by eating excessive amounts of legume forage such as those, rather than grass varieties.

You could put them back in the new paddock tomorrow, preferably mid to late morning when any dew has dried up, and check them for signs of bloat a couple of hours later - it only takes that long to develop in most cases.


They did all seem to run and chow down on clover when they got into the paddock, but I didn't think there was much more in there than where they had been (it's actually one big paddock that we recently sub-divided, but it must be quite different in the top half than the bottom half.) They were still happy and ruminating when I went to check on them before bed, but definitely deflated this morning (and desperate to get back into the other paddock - ha ha, typical!) I will try them again today for a few hours later in the day and see how they go.

I just wasn't very happy leaving them in there because thought they would just get worse if they kept eating from that paddock. How long does it take from when they are looking quite bloated (but still happy sheep) for it to turn into full on bloat...?

Muddling our way through 1Ha on the Christchurch Port Hills, with flocks of heritage chickens, Silver Appleyard ducks, Gotland sheep, and Arapawa goats.

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6 years 4 months ago #537045 by Rokker
Replied by Rokker on topic Sheep with bloat....?
Bloat usually happens very quickly. It can kill an animal within 2 hours or less. Often the first sign of bloat that you notice is a dead animal! Within an hour of entering a lush paddock of legumes such as clover, lupin, alfalfa, etc the animal will develop a very distended abdomen and start kicking to try and reduce the pain. Without intervention its gut will distend so much that it cannot breathe and will suffocate to death.

If you're concerned about the amount of clover and other legume forage in your pasture, there's a product called Bloatenz, available from Farmlands or Farmsource, that is a surfactant (stops the formation of foam in the animal's rumen). You simply add it to the trough water. Works really well.

Do NOT cross this paddock! ... Unless you can do it in 9 seconds, 'cos the bull can do it in 10!
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6 years 4 months ago #537048 by Ronney
Replied by Ronney on topic Sheep with bloat....?
Wren, sheep rarely get bloat in the way cattle do, it is the prerogative of cattle, dogs and pigs. But they will get bloated if they pig out on too much good grass, clover or dry feed such as nuts and grain. As Rokker says, bloat shows up very quickly, the animal will be extremely uncomfortable, staggering, groaning, kicking at it's stomach, and if it is a bad case, the animal will go down. By comparison your sheep sounded pretty normal.

If you're concerned, and you're in a position to do so, either strip feed it for them or put them in for a couple of hours a day and then put them back in their old paddock.

Cheers,
Ronnie
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6 years 4 months ago #537058 by Wren
Replied by Wren on topic Sheep with bloat....?
Thanks guys - it's good to know that it is rare in sheep. The strange thing is that they looked really bloated - some of them looked bigger than when they were pregnant! They were really ballooning in their bellies - but behaved fine and definitely didn't have any of the symptoms that you mention.

Yesterday I put them in the new paddock for just a few hours, and I'll do the same again today, so hopefully I can ease them into it that way. I don't think we have excessive amounts of clover, but more that they are just greedy little beasts who sought out the bits they like best in the new paddock!! Crisis averted though, I think - thanks for the advice! :)

Muddling our way through 1Ha on the Christchurch Port Hills, with flocks of heritage chickens, Silver Appleyard ducks, Gotland sheep, and Arapawa goats.

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