The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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Taking care of sheep is something that has the potential to be very rewarding. However, it’s going to be scary when things start to go wrong.
If you’re new to caring for sheep, then you might not know what to do if your sheep isn’t eating. You might be worried that this could be a serious problem that will threaten the sheep’s life.
It’s good to be proactive and to take things seriously because there could be many different reasons why sheep will stop eating. You’re going to want to go down the list of potential reasons to try to figure out what’s going on with your sheep.
Read on to learn about why sheep will sometimes stop eating. Once you know more, it should be easier to figure out what to do to fix the issue.
1 – It Could Be a Simple Mouth Sore
If you’re lucky, then there isn’t going to be too much wrong with your sheep at all. Sometimes people find out that sheep will stop eating when they get mouth sores.
Sheep will be wary of eating food or doing much with their mouths if they have some type of mouth sore. This could involve many different types of mouth sores, but it shouldn’t be an extremely serious issue.
Generally, this category can encompass all sorts of different problems in the mouth and jaw area of the sheep. For instance, the sheep could have a tooth problem that makes chewing hay and trying to eat very painful.
A jaw injury could cause similar pain that will make the sheep want to avoid eating. Have you tried examining the sheep to see if it will let you look inside its mouth?
The sheep might seem skittish and will want to keep you away from its mouth if it is experiencing some type of pain. This might tell you that the problem has to do with mouth or jaw pain, and you should be relieved if the issue is as simple as that.
Your next course of action should be to call your veterinarian to get things checked out. A veterinarian should be able to visit your sheep and perform a thorough investigation.
If something is wrong, then your veterinarian will know the right steps to take to remedy the problem. In some instances, it might be necessary to remove a tooth, but the sheep might also just need antibiotics or some other type of treatment.
2 – Your Sheep Ate Something Bad
Another potential problem involves the sheep eating something bad. If your sheep ate something that it shouldn’t have, then that could be the reason why it isn’t eating any food now.
It can be pretty hard to tell when something like this happens, though. Sheep generally try not to show when they’re sick, and that means that diagnosis isn’t going to be easy.
Remember that a lot of things can happen to your sheep when you’re not around. It’s very possible that your sheep could have eaten a poisonous plant or something else that it shouldn’t have eaten.
Often, the diagnosis will involve examining the sheep and looking for signs to see what’s going on. You might need to take stool and urine samples to the veterinarian so that the problem can be figured out.
If you’re noticing that your sheep is bloated, then that could be a sign that it ate something bad. Bloating might occur when a sheep eats something poisonous or when it eats spoiled food of some sort.
It’s also going to be wise to check the hay to see if it is moldy or bad. Usually, animals won’t eat hay that is wet or bad, but it’s still good to try to cover all of your bases.
3 – Pneumonia
Pneumonia is another thing that can cause sheep to stop eating. This can be a very serious problem that you will want to figure out fast.
A problem like this could threaten your sheep’s life. You’re going to need to get a professional opinion to see what’s going on with the sheep.
Call the veterinarian right away to get the sheep checked out. A veterinarian will be able to diagnose a sheep with pneumonia if necessary and can start treating the animal.
You want to start getting the sheep the treatment that it needs as fast as you can. If your sheep hasn’t eaten in 48 hours, then it’s time to call your veterinarian and get to the bottom of the situation.
How Long Can Sheep Go Without Food?
Technically, sheep should be able to survive for many days and possibly even weeks without eating. That doesn’t mean that the problem needs to be ignored, though.
Whenever your sheep stops eating for 48 hours, it’s going to be wise to call your veterinarian. Waiting any longer could harm your sheep more and it’ll make it harder for your sheep to recover.
If it has been less than a day, then you could try to do other things to see if you can get the sheep to eat. For instance, you could try giving it a different type of food or giving it a soft food if you suspect that the sheep has a mouth sore.
Just understand that your best bet is to call in a veterinarian. Some people try to avoid doing this because of the cost, but it’s going to be necessary to get a professional’s opinion so that you can get the sheep back to being healthy again.
Now that you know more about why sheep will stop eating, it’s going to be simpler to know what to do. There are quite a few potential causes, but you can get things figured out with help.
It might be an issue that isn’t incredibly serious, but your sheep is still likely going to need treatment. Contact a veterinarian at your earliest convenience so that your sheep can start feeling better soon.
Don’t worry too much when your sheep stops eating. You can be observant and call a veterinarian to get everything figured out, and your sheep is going to be able to get better in all likelihood.