The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: Rosemary on January 09, 2012, 05:47:17 pm

Title: Empty stomachs
Post by: Rosemary on January 09, 2012, 05:47:17 pm
The scanner is coming at 8am on 24th January. Because it's so close to 90 days after the tup went in, she wants them to have empty bellies. I can bring them in overnight but it 12 hours is a long time with no food.

Will they be OK or should I give them hay and take it out at some ungodly hour in the morning? How long does it take for a sheep to empty?
Title: Re: Empty stomachs
Post by: SteveHants on January 09, 2012, 05:53:02 pm
From what I've read 12 hours is about standard. I wouldn't worry about nil by mouth for periods of up to 24 hours. make sure they have water, obviously.
Title: Re: Empty stomachs
Post by: SallyintNorth on January 09, 2012, 10:07:27 pm
I'd put them on straw so they can pick on that if they are really hungry.  You don't want to stress them.  If they seem likely to eat all the straw, you'd better take most of it out before you go to bed yourself! 
Title: Re: Empty stomachs
Post by: bazzais on January 09, 2012, 10:19:52 pm
I've never been asked this - but then this is only my third year.

I know it can be a problem scanning late but I would have thought that the instructions is just about cutting down extra feeding rather than excluding any feeding.? dunno?

Title: Re: Empty stomachs
Post by: doganjo on January 09, 2012, 10:34:02 pm
I take it sheep aren't trickle feeders like horses? So no risk of colic?
Title: Re: Empty stomachs
Post by: SteveHants on January 10, 2012, 12:24:39 am
I imagine its so that stomach contents don't confuse the ultrasound operator into seeing more 'lambs' than are actually there, although Id imagine they would give a different 'texture' of return on the screen - having said that, I've only seen human ultrasounds.
Title: Re: Empty stomachs
Post by: Dougal on January 10, 2012, 11:47:59 am
It's fairly normal practice for the scanner to request empty stomachs before scanning if the gestation is well advanced. 12 hours without feed is no problem at all to sheep, especially if they have been on grass. It takes a long time for grass to digest through the rumen anyway,they don't have as fast a gut system as we do. If you must feed them something then maybe a little concentrates but NOT hay or straw. That will fill the rumen in the same way as grass would and so cause problems with the picture for the scanner.
If you think that legally stock can be shifted in a lorry (having been stood in the market for a whole day) for 8 hours and it causes almost no problems (the industry can't afford the problems, straight economics and welfare dictates that). Standing yours in a shed at home where there is almost no stress won't worry the girls.
All the best with the scanning, You'll be pacing like an expectant father! ;D
Title: Re: Empty stomachs
Post by: Rosemary on January 10, 2012, 01:37:33 pm
Phew, that's a relief. Had visions of having to go out at 2am to either bring them in OR take out the feed. I'd have done it - but glad I don't have to. Thanks all.

Yes, I will be pacing - it's like crunch time. Actually, it should be Leo that's pacing but he won't care.  ;D