Home-made tonic for sheep

Roelof Bezuidenhout recommends this remedy to boost your sheep’s condition.

Home-made tonic for sheep
The equipment and ingredients necessary to administer this simple remedy to your flock.
Photo: Roelof Bezuidenhout

Several commercial products are available to stimulate the rumen flora in ruminants. But you can make your own; here is an easy-to-prepare remedy that sheep farmers often use during a drought when flocks start losing body condition and their dung pellets become dry and hard.

  • Mix four packets of ordinary baker’s yeast, 2kg of brown sugar and 1l of brown vinegar in a 5l can.
  • Fill the can with water and mix again.
  • Dose the sheep at a rate of about 20ml/ewe and 15ml/weaned lamb. While not all farmers believe in this remedy, others swear by it, claiming that dung pellets become greener and softer, while the entire flock seems to gain vitality. At only about 15c/ sheep, it is certainly worth a try. The effects do not last long, however, and it should be repeated after one or two weeks.

While this particular recipe has apparently never been scientifically tested for its effect on rumen bacteria that have become dormant on dry veld, various types of yeast are commonly used in animal feed.