They're known to rarely suffocate each other in the walls, known problem.
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"Really though, it shows the mindset of a Dwarf Fortress player that when running for you life from a 30-foot tall animate bronze colossus, your first reaction to a horde of fluffy bunnies is to grab some and throw them at it." - DF player
You put sheep in a hole in the ground!? The poor sheep...
As workaround, you can line the wall with fences. I did this in a barn I made for my horses. One of the stalls had a wall right on a chunk border, and it was making that stall in particular trap a lot of horses in one of it's walls. I lined said wall with a fence, and that cut down almost every death.
Better yet, take them out of the hole in the ground and give them something more proper! A simple wall like this works wonders for me.
I noticed you have a ladder so the question is, do you have 2 sections of ladder or only 1 at the top where you have to jump to go up the ladder? If you have 2 sections of ladder the sheep are escaping and you need to get rid of the lower section. I had a cow farm one time that I kept losing the cows and noticed one day that there's some glitch in the program that the cows would occasionally go up the ladder. Once I got rid of the lower section of ladder the problem went away. This also works with mobs and instead of gates, I use a 2 block tall section with 1 ladder on each side on the upper block. You can sprint and jump the fence while being chased by a mob and only spiders can follow you over.
Its only 1 ladder so they cant escape.. And i didnt say they escape they Die.. since they have wool and mutton there.
That sounds more like the suffocating in the walls problem. I'd dig a larger ring around the pit, install a fence, and dig out the existing wall to try and cure it. This gives you a larger pit and different walls.
Sounds like that the sheep are pushing each other into a corner or a wall and suffocate each other. This happens to everyone and it's an old bug that Mojang never fix. Just line the bottom with glass or fence and it should help keep the sheep from killing one another, it works very well on my cow farm in the server I go to old map before we changed to a new map almost a year ago.
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