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Sheep/Shepherding/Suddenly Stopped Eating


I fed my new 8 month old sheep (2 of them) last night and they were keen to eat, the bolder one ate out of my hand even.  This morning that same one, who is always first to the feed bucket, stood back and did not eat.  I refilled their water thinking she may just be thirsty.  She drank for quite a while and kept chewing but stayed back from the food bucket.  I found 2 suspicious things looking around...first part of a plastic bag that had apparently been buried in their shelter - it wasn't on the ground before so I wondered if she may have pulled it up and chewed on it.  Also, I found that they had pulled in a small branch from a tree outside the fence which has thorns (like a mesquite# so I wondered if she could have injured her mouth.  Would either of these be a possibility or just coincidence.  I am new to sheep #we usually only have cows) and quite concerned.

Hi Renee,
Sorry about your woes with your new lambs. I am not too concerned about the thorny tree. Sheep are NOT goats, and a more picky palate.  I am bit concerned about the plastic bag. Watch for that lamb to poop it out.  The lamb may have a belly ache. As long as the lamb is drinking, peeing and pooping, you are in good shape.

Be careful how much you are feeding and making sure that have clean water and shelter available at all times.

If they are new to your farm, they need some acclimation time as well. Keep an eye on them, but I think they will be fine, even if their appetite is not hardy.  They can go off feed for the weirdest things, weather, new environment, bored with the food choice..

You will have great fun with the lambs. Are you showing them for 4H or FFA?  

Let me know as things progress!



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Kari Wempe


I can answer most questions about raising, breeding, feeding, showing,typical illnesses, pregnancy, birthing, bottle feeding,showing and sheering sheep. I have raised sheep for show and production for 20 years. The breeds of sheep I am most familier with are Crossbred, Suffolk, Hampshire- basically black face sheep. I deal with the classification of meat sheep over bred for wool sheep.


I have raised a flock of sheep for 20 years on our farm. Very involved in 4H, FFA aspects and their rules, jackpot shows, state, regional, county and local shows.

Experience is my best creditial however, I have a college education and have taught many classes ( in other catagories), so I am familiar in the ways of teaching others.

Awards and Honors
Many breed awards- champion and grand champion awards in Kansas for the past 20 years, showmanship awards at local and state level in Kansas.

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