No...... not kissing but kessing, also known as cowped or cowp-ed. Cast on her back basically, the sheep that is, not the shepherd!
When sheep are kessing they can very easily die. A lot depends on whether they are lying with their heads down the hill or not and also the climatic conditions. If all these conditions are stacked against them they can die with in a couple of hours. They tend to gas up, quite literally swell, and as a result will die. What is known as the rough time is basically the summer months prior to shearing and shepherds out herding the hills are always on the look out for a sheep on her back, once clipped the threat lessens, the wool is no longer there to make the sheep feel quite as itchy and sweaty as previously. With some breeds the possibility always remains that they may get cast due to the size they are - the width of their backs. Cheviots for one are still notorious for kessing once clipped although not quite to the same degree as when they are carrying their coats.
Read no further if you are faint hearted.
I've already explained that sheep are in a dangerous position whilst lounging around on their backs with all four feet in the air due to them gassing up. Should anyone happen upon a creature in this state feel free to roll her back onto her feet, they will stagger around once up on their feet and care is to be taken that they don't fall in a drain or cowp over again due to their haste in running away from you.
There are other dangers a sheep may face when found in this position. She is unable to get away from predators, her only line of defence is to wriggle and kick her feet around. Predators are aware of this and the most ruthless amongst them will take their opportunity of a feast if it should arise.
In my early teens I came across a cheviot ewe on her back, half her udder was eaten off and she was still alive. The gun was sent for and she was put out of her misery. Lounging around isn't the wisest of ideas if you're a sheep. They do look comical when stuck on their backs but rather than laugh roll them over, it'll probably save their lives.
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