Agri Vehicles Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Ewe stranded on back.  (Read 6534 times)


  • Joined Aug 2014
Ewe stranded on back.
« on: May 24, 2016, 11:45:44 pm »
I rent out some pasture to some one with about 30 ewes..same amount of hoggetts and lambs.Each year I regularly have to upright a sheep on it's back.This evening the ewe had a really bloated stomach.I rang and told the  owner who is always very grateful .My question is can they die?  And if so how long can they survive  in such a position.Last year it was the lambs that raised the alarm but this year they had given up on the ewe and it was just the feet we spotted .
My land is comparitively are certain breeds vulnerable.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2016, 11:52:58 pm by juliem »


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Ewe stranded on back.
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2016, 11:56:02 pm »
Yes they can die on their backs as their internal organs are the wrong way up, causing pressure where they shouldn't. Internal gases build up causing more pressure.  I don't think there's a set time.  One year our neighbour didn't shear at all, so with 2 fleeces on, especially when it was wet and the fleeces really heavy, we had to stand cowped ewes back up several times each day.  Hold onto them for a while to let them burp etc.
The only cowped ewe we had was heavily pregnant, lay down and tipped herself over a molehill and her belly, so she couldn't get back on her feet.
Another time in Shetland, on a coach full of sheep breeders, we spotted a cowped ewe in a field.  We made the driver stop and we all leapt out of the bus, taking to the field in our Sunday best.  The poor ewe was so scared by the apparitions charging towards her that she flipped back the right away up before we got there and charged off up the hill.
So I suppose fat ewes could be prone to cowp, or those with heavy fleece, but I don't know much more about it.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2016, 11:57:57 pm by Fleecewife »
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  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Ewe stranded on back.
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2016, 02:26:34 am »
Worst nightmare.  There is a gadget out there, like two little half balls on a little surcingle round ewes girth area. Like an anti cast roller for a horse.  I think it's been talked about on here in the past  :thinking:


  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Ewe stranded on back.
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2016, 09:28:29 am »
Top tip: If you can, tip them end over end to get them upright, if they are heavily bloated, rather than rolling them onto their side.  The pressure on their insides when you roll them onto their side can rupture them internally.  Harder to do obviously, but is beneficial.


  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Ewe stranded on back.
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2016, 08:42:43 pm »
How long can they last, a couple of hours or a couple of days and all inbetween   , if they can keep pooing then they survive  .    why it happens as in all things sheep is variable , if they have been rubbing against sand or soil they get itchy and can roll to rub , uneven ground can trap them when lying down and they fall sideways .    some breeds are more prone short square bodies and a heavy fleece , often if you clip the sheep problem solved.    some 20 yrs ago I looked after south country cheviots ( now called hill cheviots ) they could get fat on the smell of grass , when I had to bring them of the hill for shearing I had to look them 3 times per day ,the worst day I had 14 cast

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Ewe stranded on back.
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2016, 09:06:57 pm »
Short legged sheep with a heavy fleece are always touted as most likely to cast (as we call it in these parts) but my Badger Face have done so before now, and they've neither of those things.  Sometimes they stagger around a bit, and generally urinate as soon as they're upright.  The main danger around here is from corvids pecking the eyes out. 


  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Ewe stranded on back.
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2016, 10:10:53 pm »
He lost a hogget  to fly strike this again who spotted it in the field.I tend to shout at them from a distance if I see anything that looks suspicious and if no movement go over to investigate.He's desperate to get them sheared.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2016, 10:16:59 pm by juliem »


  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Scottish Borders
    • Facebook
Re: Ewe stranded on back.
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2016, 08:38:36 pm »
Between about now and clipping, we have one or two a day stuck (or cowped, as it would be called round here). Once they've been stuck, depending on how long they've been like that, they can just roll straight over again as they get quite disorientated, so you may need to support them the right way up for a while. At this time of year, we spend 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours at night looking sheep to prevent deaths from this, but we do usually lose one each year.


  • Joined May 2014
Re: Ewe stranded on back.
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2016, 11:09:16 pm »
Hi !! I have used the antiroll device , worked well on rather rounded Southdown sheep. Can't remember where we got them from, had two I think ,they do work but look quite comical !! :roflanim:

Liz Kershaw

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Ewe stranded on back.
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2016, 10:30:02 pm »
We had one cast last week - Ryeland in full fleece after a very heavy rain storm. We found her and righted her (no bloat and pooing fine). I think she perhaps rolled over to itch and the wet fleece anchored her. We've had them shorn now.


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