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Author Topic: What causes bloat?  (Read 79661 times)


  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: What causes bloat?
« Reply #30 on: April 22, 2016, 07:10:51 pm »
checked out the website for Mapperton House...looks idyllic....will definitely visit if I am in the area.


  • Joined Jul 2016
Re: What causes bloat?
« Reply #31 on: July 30, 2016, 08:28:51 pm »
Does anyone know whether a sheep/older lamb with bloat will still urinate or pass faeces?
Thanks x

Daisys Mum

  • Joined May 2009
  • Scottish Borders
Re: What causes bloat?
« Reply #32 on: August 01, 2016, 12:47:31 pm »
it looked very like one of my ewes had bloat last night , she lambed 5 weeks ago. She seemed happy enough, still nobbling grass but she was enormous, she was still passing urine and faeces so decided to leave her until this morning with my son doing regular checks on her during the night. This morning she is completely back to normal, I do have a lot of grass and my ewes are all very fat.


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: What causes bloat?
« Reply #33 on: August 01, 2016, 01:17:31 pm »
I think it will depend on the severity of the bloat.  If the rumen has stopped completely, then the rest of the digestion will stop also, and pooing will stop.  But they could still be pooing as bloat gets started, so I don't think you would use seeing it poo as a diagnostic to say it's not bloat.

If it has stopped pooing, and you treat the bloat, and it starts pooing again, then that's a very good sign, of course.

Not urinating would be very serious; that would indicate that the kidneys have packed up.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined Oct 2012
  • Fettercairn, Aberdeenshire
Re: What causes bloat?
« Reply #34 on: August 02, 2016, 01:49:25 pm »
Not urinating would be very serious; that would indicate that the kidneys have packed up.
Or it has bladder stones and a blockage.
Absolutely essential that a sheep/goat/cat/dog that is not urinating see a vet asap, as a blocked urethra can rupture or a blocked bladder can cause raised potassium in the blood and heart to slow/stop. Very rapidly fatal in either of these instances.


  • Joined Jan 2016
Re: What causes bloat?
« Reply #35 on: September 04, 2017, 03:12:04 pm »
Hi there. I am new to keeping sheep but my main concern in starting is worry about bloat. I have the option of purchasing some shetland sheep.I planted a new pasture this year and it is very clover rich. It has 11 different grasses and other herbs in too but its the clover and weeds that have taken over. Please see picture attached.
Its taken me a while to get an electric fence set up, i would like to be rotationally grazinv sheep and goats around the 10 acre field outdoors all year. But! A local farmer has scared me saying he wouldnt put sheep on it as its too rich for them. I have read that you can inyroduce them to a different diet gradually putting them on pasture for a limited time, bring them out, watch for bloat and have remedies at the ready. This thread is giving me hope...thanks for all the information. Im just asking now for encouragement to start doing this or if you think im aski g for trouble. I do have another field with v short yorkshire fog as a back up but its the new pasture i really want eaten.
Thanks rosie


  • Joined Nov 2018
Re: What causes bloat?
« Reply #36 on: November 10, 2018, 02:15:40 pm »
Dont take what I say as gospel, but I would put *mine* in there, first for half hr or so, then back out to other feed paddock with what they are used too, same again next day, then an hr, then 2 etc etc...after 7/10 days or so, they should be used too it.

We are in drought, so I am basically moving them like this from hand feed paddock, to pasture, smash it down in a small area, then move on. It is very hands on though.

Pomme homme

  • Joined Feb 2013
Re: What causes bloat?
« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2021, 05:13:54 pm »
Having had a bumper apple crop - more than I could use for making cider - this year, I fed some to my ewes. I noticed that my Suffolk ewe (I don't know why I bought her - I should have stuck to Vendéen, but that's another story) made a beeline for the over-ripe apples and would gorge on them. Then, one evening, I saw her isolating from the flock with a girth like a barrage balloon and a face that looked as if she'd had a bubble bath. Suspecting bloat, whilst my wife made up an olive oil/sodium bicarbonate mix and sharpened a skewer, I tried to get the ewe into the pen but she was having none of it. With the rain starting, the light fading and a well spooked ewe, eventually I had to give up the chase. I expected to find her dead in the morning but was pleasantly surprised to find, at first light, she was back with the flock, her girth was back to normal and there was no sign of foam around her mouth. I think that I was lucky. However I ceased feeding apples - whether under, just or over ripe - to the ewes. But I think that the problem was not apples per se but the over-ripe apples. In another field, where I'm keeping my ram lambs before they go to slaughter, there is an apple tree on the boundary which is dropping its fruit into the field. The ram lambs are eating those without any deleterious effect. But as a precaution, any of the apples that go over-ripe on the ground are being thrown over the fence into the roadside hedgerow.   
« Last Edit: November 14, 2021, 05:18:45 pm by Pomme homme »


  • Joined May 2023
Re: What causes bloat?
« Reply #38 on: May 31, 2023, 06:02:53 pm »
Good question, I was wondering that too!  :thumbsup:

I had a strange case of acute bloat last year with my oldest 11year old Soay ewe, so it's not just lambs that can get affected.
Old Dill is always very greedy so when I found her off food one morning I had the vet out straight away because it got me worried, knowing her. Vet checked her over, found that everything was totally normal including rumen noises, and nothing they could find to treat. Only 4 hours later (!) I found her standing alone and hunched up at the very bottom of the field, with a badly blown up belly and seemingly ready to die. We hauled her up the field in a blanket (in driving rain) and back to the vets where she spend the night, having to have her belly pierced twice to relieve the gas, as it kept building up. She stabilised by the morning and I took her back home nursing her for a few days with hedge cuttings and doses of that oil/bicarb/yoghurt mix, just in case the bloat was going to come back.

**This was an issue that we had last year.  We had an incredibly rainy Spring and the legumes just blew up the pasture faster than the hearty grasses.  Older ruminants are far more susceptible to foamy bloat and they are often the more greedy of the animals.  One of the reasons for thee greed is that ‘prey animals’ know when they are weakening and aging.  They instinctively know when they are slower than the herd.  That’s why you rarely see signs of sickness until they are too far gone.  They just dont want to show weakness.  They are often more wary also so if they let you walk up and touch and treat them…they are SICK!  We have an old saying with sheep “If they let you know they are sick…it’s too late.”  One of the things that helps is the oil and and bicarbonate, that works well another that works (a tip from my vet) is Dawn Dishwashing liquid forced by syringe (50-150cc/ml) (oily antifoaming surfactant) and plenty of fresh water available.  If none of this works then you have few options.  We live in an area with scarce Vet resources and are often on our own with maybe a phone link to a vet if we’re lucky. has a bloat surgical kit that is essential a sharp ended stainless steel tube that in pushed between the ribs into the 2nd stomach and allows the draining of the foam and liquids.  I have medical training and follow up by getting some forceps in there and pulling the stomach tight and closing the lining and then the outer fascia and then the out skin leaving a little opening for drainage that is well shaved, cleaned and then set up a small coral right where she is laying to keep her still and calm for a few days.  I don’t recommend this unless you have NO OTHER OPTION and unless you have some medical training or have experience and have been taught to work on your own animals by a qualified person.  For me it was minutes to save her and no help coming.  I only mention that as an emergency resource to have on hand…NOT a normal go to thing.  Please use discretion.
With older ewes and goats it’s best to ease the diet from dry to wet slowly over a week or two.  They’ll take it from there.
She recovered and been fine ever since. The vet could not explain what it was or what might have caused it.
So I have no idea!  ::)


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