Hikers rescue heavily pregnant sheep stuck on her back ahead of lambing season

Sheep and lamb standing in barn doorway
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you found a sheep on its back during a hike, would you know what to do? Two women hiking in the English Lake District have shared a video showing exactly how to handle the situation after they encountered a heavily pregnant ewe in exactly that situation.

Charlotte Emery and Katy Maughan were about 10 minutes into their hike when they spotted the sheep, clearly in trouble.

A sheep that rolls onto its back and is unable to right itself is known as 'cast', and can become distressed and even die if left unassisted due to suffocation or vulnerability to predators.

A sheep can become cast if it lies down, then rolls down a slope. The weight of its fleece can make it difficult for the animal to stand, as can pregnancy, making it a particularly common problem during lambing season.

Luckily, Emery had seen a post on Facebook about how to help a cast sheep shortly before she and Maughan set out, and the pair acted quickly to gently roll the heavily pregnant ewe back onto her feet.

"She was big, but she didn't feel that heavy," Emery said later in an interview with BBC East Midlands.

"I don't know if it was adrenalin or what, but once we'd got [our] hands under it, it just felt like a feather once we rolled her," Maughan added.

According to the National Farmers' Union, "if a sheep is stuck on its back, you should gently roll it over then hold it upright for a few seconds."

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.