The video of a Flemish veterinarian has, within a few days, made the buzz on social networks. He tells us what to do if you see a sheep lying on its back. An unexpected success, but one that alerts us to a little-known danger!
Sheep do not sleep on their backs
If you see a sheep lying on its back with all four legs up in the air while you are out for a walk, this is not at all normal. Indeed, unlike humans, dogs or even cats, sheep is not an animal that sleeps on its back. And for good reason, once lying on its back, the sheep simply can’t turn around anymore, just like turtles do!
However, not only can the animal not get up again and is therefore vulnerable to possible predators, but it is also likely to suffocate itself. Indeed, in this position, the gases resulting from the fermentation and present in its intestines are no longer able to evacuate correctly. In fact, they accumulate, putting pressure on the sheep’s lungs. The sheep can no longer breathe.
For this reason, it is rare for a sheep to end up on its back. Unfortunately, in case of a fall, jostling, overweight or pregnancy, this can happen. Thus, sheep that tend to end up on their backs are usually sheep with heavy (or wet) fleece and pregnant ewes.
The right gestures to have
On the subject, there are two opposing opinions, as relayed by the magazine Slate. Some say that the simplest way is to roll the sheep over and put it back on its feet. Others, on the other hand, believe that this technique puts the sheep in mortal danger because its intestines could become blocked.
This is also the opinion of this Flemish veterinarian, who advocates putting the sheep back in a sitting position first. Then, to make it rock gently forward.