It’s an unpleasant surprise when you discover your sheep have broken into the grain stash. Those who know anything about these woolly mammals are well aware that they always take more than necessary! Problem is, excess grain will cause them to bloat and usually leads to death. Unless…you treat your grain bloated sheep immediately.
Please hear me out: I don’t claim to be an experienced ‘sheep saver!’ I saw this treatment take place at a sheep breeder’s farm on 20+ ewes and recently, had to perform it on our own two meat lambs. In both cases, it was 100% successful.
However, in these two situations the culprits were caught early, before serious bloating had occurred!
Here’s the treatment plan!
Ingredients for Success
Anytime you are dealing with grain bloated sheep, speed is of utmost importance. The longer your ruminants remain untreated, the higher your risk of losing them. Deal with it now.
To treat the sheep, you’ll need yogurt with live bacteria cultures. It can be homemade or store bought, so long as the good bacteria is present.
Along with yogurt, you’ll want a jug of apple cider vinegar. If purchasing, try to find vinegar with the ‘mother culture’ still in it. Homemade vinegar naturally contains this culture.
The only tool you need to treat grain bloated sheep is a large syringe. A disposable 2 oz (60 ml) will do the job nicely.
If you have sheep, I recommend keeping a few on hand. Most often, these can be purchased for a few dollars at your local feed store. If not, you can easily get one on Amazon (affiliate link)!
Treat Their Water
The very first thing you should do is add apple cider vinegar to your sheep’s water. For every 5 gallons, add (roughly) 1/2 C vinegar.
Treating Grain Bloated Sheep with Yogurt
Prepare their yogurt by adding 2 tablespoons of vinegar to every 2 C (500 mls) of yogurt. Mix it well.
Note: when treating full size sheep, 2 C (500 mls) of yogurt will give you eight treatments.
Adult sheep should receive 2 oz (60 mls) of yogurt per treatment. For younger lambs, 1 oz (or 30 mls) should suffice.
Fill your syringe with yogurt.
Catch the first sheep. Gently insert your filled syringe into the side of it’s mouth. Be sure to push the syringe tip 1-2 inches toward the back of the sheep’s throat. Slightly tip the animal’s head upward and release the yogurt at a “swallow-able” speed!
Do this every 2-3 hours the first day. In the following 24 hours, you should be able to decrease frequency to every 3-4 hours. By day 3, they will likely be out of the danger zone.
Video of the Real Deal
If you like videos, here’s one of us treating our lambs in this manner. You’ll also get to see us rinse diarrhea from their wool to prevent flies from laying eggs in the mess!