Stock Keep Frequently Asked Questions

Why does a sheep die on its back?
A sheep has a rumen which enables it to digest grass. This is basically a large fermentation tank where various bacteria break down grass to produce digestible food. This process produces a lot of gas! The fermentation tank has a pipe in at the front and a pipe out at the back. When the sheep is upsidedown, these exits are blocked so the gas produced cannot escape and just builds up in the rumen until the poor sheep's lungs are crushed and it is unable to breathe.

What is a Stock Watcher?
Stock need to be checked every day. This is the job of the lookerer or stock watcher. Essentially this can be as simple as ensuring that the environment is good; sufficient food and clean water, the fences are sound and the gate closed - and the animals on the right side of them. Then see that the animals are not lame, struck by flies or on their backs. For more details see the job of the stock watcher.

What is the stock watcher's job?
As explained above, the job of the stock watcher is essentially simple. However, the Grazing Advice Partnership have produced some excellent notes to assist the stock watcher. Check their site for more details (GAP)
Sheep indicators of health (<indicators>)
Looking Procedure (<procedure>)

Can ruminants survive on grass alone?
Well, almost. They need clean drinking water at all times and sufficient grass. However, it is a good idea to provide access to minerals as well. This can be as simple as a salt lick enriched with minerals and vitamins. (<blocks>)
If ewes are pregnant and in the last six to eight weeks of pregnancy, prolific ewes will also need a high energy supplement. The required amount should be discussed with an advisor. (<feed>)

Where can I find an example grazing licence?
Well, here actually. (<licence>)
This example is kindly supplied by BBOWT and would normally be accompanied by a suitable map.

Who can I talk to about small numbers of stock?
The small Shepherds Club sounds ideal.
Website: smallshepherdsclub.org.uk
Email: membership@smallshepherdsclub.org.uk
Tel: 01483 284157
Or the Nibblers Discussion Forum. This can be found from the link on the GAP website <here>

Electronic tagging?
Latest tagging news from Defra can be found <here>

Advice on Shearing and wool.
I am indebted to the Natural Fibre Company for these notes on wool.
Click here for the Word Doc

What is the best way to make a grazing match?
Don't wait for people to come to you! The best way is to use the search facility on Stock Keep. Search for your requirements - perhaps by searching for registrants in your county - and contact anyone who has what you are looking for. Remember, they are listed because they want to make a match too.