by Countryside Alliance

Police in North Wales have issued guidance on what to do when a sheep is found cast (lying on its back with its legs up).

If a sheep is left like this it can die from suffocation and is made vulnerable to attacks from crows and other animals. If you see a sheep in this position, police say you should tip or roll it back on to its feet. 

There is however, general guidance around approaching livestock in normal situations. The Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW), for example, advises members of the public not to approach sheep or other livestock as it might cause them stress, especially if they are walking a dog.

However, it is common during lambing season for sheep to become cast, as pregnant sheep are more vulnerable to falling over.

Additionally, sheep this time of year tend to have a thicker fleece and, as a result of rain and wet weather, this can become very heavy.

The weight of their fleece can cause them to tip over on to their backs and makes it exceptionally difficult to get back up.

If left in this state for a long period of time this can mean a slow and painful death for sheep through suffocation. What is more, cast sheep are vulnerable to attacks from crows and other animals. 

According to guidance online, here is what to do if you see a sheep stuck on its back.

First of all, try and find a farmer to inform them of what has happened. 

If no farmer can be found, then you need to approach the sheep calmly and gently roll it back on to its feet.

Next, check to see that the sheep remains stable for a few minutes as sheep that have been cast for a while may fall over again quite quickly. If the animal seems badly harmed, then try and inform the farmer. 

Report by Alice Bourne

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