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A question about feed bunks

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This morning I was feeding sheep over at the farm and I had dumped grain in the bunks and was busy doling out hay when I happened to look over and see what looked like a mound of a sheep next to (I thought) one of the bunks. I walked over to the bunk and apparently a sheep had jumped in and slipped and was turned on her side and unable to get up. I lifted her out. I can't imagine how she would have fared if I hadn't seen her and didn't go back over till this evening. Anyway, I often see the sheep, and now even the lambs, jumping in the bunks. This is the first time I've seen one slip and fall over on her side (this was a yearling if that makes any difference). I use a bunk for the sheep at my house and haven't had a problem there. These are bunks designed for sheep and goats, but they don't have hayracks attached on top.


So...my experience is that this isn't a common problem, but now that it *has* happened, it's got me worried. I turned the bunks over before I left for work.


Anyone else had this happen? Is there a simple way to prevent them from getting in the bunks in the first place (keeping in mind that some have horns that could get hung in any sort of "head gate" type attachment and that I don't want to afford the hay rack attachment)?


There's a cattle farm I pass on my way to the feed store and it looks like the farmer there has rigged up something with wood that sort of partitions the bunk (but it lays across the top and doesn't actually partition what's in the bunk, just seems to control where the heads go by creating slots at the top). I thought about trying something similar, but then had visions of sheep jumping in and then accidentally hanging a leg and breaking it when trying to jump out.


Am I worrying needlessly over something that isn't likely to happen again? FWIW, usually someone is at the farm during the day and might notice a sheep in trouble, but the owners are out of town at the moment. Maybe I should just toss the feed on the ground....



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My show sheep used to do it all the time...but show sheep tend to try to kill themselves more than pasture sheep do, at least in my opinion. I used wooden bunks that had a 2 x 4 run down the middle, attached to each end with wood screws...it gave them about 8 inches of clearance for their heads, but prevented them from jumping in completely...of course, when thinking about it now, being older, if not wiser, it left enough room for a yearling to TRY to jump in and possibly catch their leg under the 2 x 4 as they hopped out and snap their leg....it never happened, but as a friend of mine wisely puts it...concerning livestock and especially horses, when you think about something happening...it almost always does...ignorance is blissful, isn't it?

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