DO NOT ignore a sheep stuck on its back as its life could be in danger.

That is the message shared by a rural farming group this week.

Sheep falling on their backs happens a lot around this time of year — and can be fatal.

Sharing a picture of a sheep on its back, Echt Homes said on Facebook: "This is NOT a sheep resting.

"This is a sheep in serious trouble.

"The sheep are now heavily pregnant and have a heavy winter wool coat.

"This can lead to them getting stuck on their backs and eventually die.

"If you find a sheep like this, grab a good handful of wool and turn it around.

"If possible keep it still for a few minutes, so it ‘acclimatises’.

"If you can’t get it to stand up, please inform the nearest farmer possible."

Why does it happen?

During lambing season, pregnant sheep are more vulnerable to falling over.

They also tend to have a full fleece which can become so heavy that they tip over and roll on to their back.

Sheep with their bodies in this position can find it difficult to get up.

Unfortunately, in a lot of cases this means a slow and painful death for the sheep.

If a sheep is left on its back and cannot get up, it can be vulnerable to attacks from crows and other birds.

Lambing can start as early as December and go on to as late as June. 

What can be done?

One simple roll can save the sheep's life.

According to the Working Sheepdog Website, the National Farmers' Union advises members of the public to try and find a farmer before doing anything. 

A spokesperson said: “We advise the public and those visiting the countryside to alert the farmer if they believe a sheep to be in distress.

"Under no circumstance should the livestock be approached, as this may cause the animal more stress.

"In addition, if you see livestock in a field, even if there is a public footpath, please keep your dog on a lead.

"Sheep suffer greatly when they are chased, worried or attacked by dogs and ewes may be extra protective of their young at this time of year.”