Tuesday, March 1, 2011

liset's big scare

I know everyone is expecting an adorable chick post. I was expecting to write one. I took photos, video, the works... But life has a way of happening at 6:48 on a Tuesday morning. Sometimes it's not all fluff and feathers. Sometimes you're covered in sheep shit trying to inject glucose down a sick ewe's throat.

I woke up this morning excited about a lot of things. I had an order of chicks to pick up at the post office, and there are few cuter mail-order items than baby chicks. I was excited for the workshop this weekend. I sang to the Swedish Flower hen like I was a Muppet Chef while dumping out the laundry into a basket. I had a pot of strong coffee started, the wood stove lit, the brooder lamp had been chugging all night. Damn, things were looking good. I called the post office to make sure my animals were ready. The truck was warm and started like a normal vehicle. The sun was coming up over the ridge line, and the whole house smelled like coffee so dark you could eat it with a spoon. Heaven. All I had left to do before I got my basket-o-chicks was to feed the sheep before I left the farm.

As I was doling out the morning's hay ration I noticed Liset (number 20-06) stumble and walk oddly down the hill. My first thought was hoof needs to be trimmed. I'll check it right after I get back from the P.O. but then I watched her stare blankly at me. Within moments she was standing away from the flock chewing her upper plate in her mouth. She wasn't eating much at all.

This was bad. This was really bad.

I went through the flip-file in my head of sheep diseases. Listeria? No, she'd be circling...Rabies? No drool or twitching. Worms? No, she'd be eating like crazy.... Liset just seemed drunk. Wobbly. Like a waif in some Victorian play about to collapse on her fainting couch.

I ran inside to my lambing supply basket where my neighbor Shellee's number was located on a pink post-it note. Shellee was a large-animal Vet. She knew more about sheep than anyone on this mountain and happened to live a quarter mile away. I called, explained what I saw, and asked her she could come over? She had another appointment but said she'd come by later. Her instinct though was Ketosis; a late-pregnancy disease in sheep. It's a situation where the lambs are literally sucking the life out of her. She said she'd meet me in the farm in moments and bring up some Glycol and an oral syringe. We'd talk more in person.

I stood outside by my running truck and hung up my cell phone. I was no longer thinking about chickens.

I was so worried. These sheep were pined for—a dream come true. They took an entire summer to pay off. I had hauled and stored their hay, carried water, built them a shed and then spent frozen nights removing snow from it. I had studied. I had gone to sheepdog trials, workshops, and everything else I could think to do. What I didn't have was experience. I had no idea what a Ketotic ewe looked like. All I knew was something wasn't right so I called someone who could help. I know that much.

Shellee showed up a little later that morning as I was setting up the chicks in the brooder. She was standing at my front door with a jam jar of Glycol and this plastic-tube device and explained she'd be back later to check on her properly and run a urine test. I didn't ask her the one question on my mind. How do you want me to collect sheep urine?

I had taken the morning off from the office, and was grateful I had. Cathy Daughton was coming over with her boys to get their 15 Silver-Laced Wyandottes. I knew her boy Holden (a teenager) could help me doctor 20-06. When they arrived we set about the business of checking on the brooder and I explained the day's second small crisis. 25% of the birds died in transit or were failing fast. This was because (I think) of bad weather that delayed my order a full day). We did our best to help bring back any chicks that were fighters (and did manage to save a few) and caught up on farm talk. When the birds were as well enough as we could get them, Holden and I went outside to tend to little Liset.

There was a time in my life when walking straight up to a hundred-pound horned animal and flipping it onto its back would have been an impossible to even consider. Not today. In my Polyface sweatshirt (a barter for wool from Wendy down in Swope), my beaten-up Carharrt vest with hoof-trimmers in pocket, Muck boots, and dirty jeans I walked right into the fray and grabbed her by the horns. Shepherds (old or new) are tough stock. Soon she was on her back Holden filled the syringe and handed it over to me so I could slowly inject the energy into her throat. She didn't flinch. She was such a good girl. Holden was an amazing help.

I trimmed her hooves (she was on her back, why the hell not) and offered her more hay. She needed to bulk-up before lambing. This Ketosis is a carb-deficiancy disease. The same disease that human beings can waste away from if their body and brains don't get enough carbohydrate energy. In fact, you force your body into Ketosis to burn fat because the lack of carbs makes your body think it is starving. It's not a good thing, people. Eat bread.

Anyway, I had to head back to the office in about an hour. I debated just calling in the day to be here and keep an eye on the failing birds and the sheep but I had to go in. The office is what keeps the hay, vets, and chickens here in the first place. Also, the vet wouldn't be able to come back till after five anyway. I left the farm worried and confused, but content I was doing everything I could. I'd save my call-in days for lambing.

Work went by fast. I had completed most of my tasks on Monday in anticipation of today's morning off and so I scuttled through spreadsheets and emails. Soon as five clicked I was back on the road. Shellee had called to say she was coming back to the farm for a urine test at 4:30 and I could meet her for a diagnose when I got home. (By the way, if you turn a sheep on its back and hold its nostrils shut it pees. Fun fact for your evening read...) When I pulled back into my driveway I saw the vet-truck there and Shellee and her helper, Billy. They did the test and it turned out positive. My heart pounded. Liset was in the beginning stages of Ketosis and it could kill her if untreated. I asked Shellee what to do?

The remedy would be energy. Get the girl on more hay, twice-a-day Glycol down the throat, and start her on grain early. She would most likely recover, but this hit could mean her ability to produce milk is all but shot. Her lambs might be destined to be bottle feeders. Billy—a long-time sheep and goat keeper—said she would be fine and lambing would be fine too. My own opinion was too raw to decide either way. This morning when I woke up I thought all was well with my sheep's world. I chose to lean towards caution and do everything the Doc says and hope for the best. Tomorrow morning I'll have a date with the Glycol syringe and a skinny sheep. She might hate me for the drugs, but I'll buy back her love with Coarse-14 grain. I'll do what I can.

Now it's after 8 and things are calming down. The house sounds like a weeknight house; dryer tumbling, dogs eating kibble, computer keyboard tapping away. The remaining chicks are healthy and I'll pad the order with more Rhode Island Reds coming into Tractor Supply tomorrow. I think if I call the hatchery I might even get a refund? Right now though, I think I'll take a long hot shower, make some hot tea, and call it a night. I had a long day and another one of sheep-flipping and spreadsheets waiting for me tomorrow. I love this farm, but occasionally love is friggin' exhausting.

I promise my next post will feature adorable chicks.

FYI PDF on Ketosis in Sheep and how to treat it.


OpenID laruse said...

Jenna, thanks for sharing this. It must have been very strssful and I will keep Liset in my prayers for a successful recovery and easy lambing. And you too. Good luck.

March 1, 2011 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger DarcC said...

Jenna, I hope everything turns out okay with Lisete! If you are short on workshop chicks, I would be happy to postpone until the Memorial Day one, no problem at all, just let me know.

March 1, 2011 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...


So sorry to hear about Liset and sorrier still that you lost some peeps, but the tale of your level-headed juggling of the sheep-chicks-work situation was really inspiring. Here's hoping Liset will turn it around under your care and that lambing will go well!

March 1, 2011 at 8:32 PM  
Blogger Ivy Mae said...

This story reminds me of the James Herriot books I read and re-read as a child, especially the way you listed the possible illnesses in your head. Herriot (British country vet, duh, I'm sure everyone knows) would always do that when he approached an animal on a farm. Anyways, hope everything turns out okay!

March 1, 2011 at 8:35 PM  
Blogger Odie Langley said...

Wow, what a day Jenna. Glad you have Liset under control and hopefully all will be well soon. Get a good nights rest and maybe tomorrow will be calmer.

March 1, 2011 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger jenomnibus said...

Meredith is right about you being level-headed! You sounded just like a doctor, ticking off the things that could be wrong with Liset. Your wherewithal in this situation was really impressive. I'm thinking nourishing thoughts for Liset!

March 1, 2011 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Jenna, I am going through the same thing with my Lamancha doe, Abby. I have been giving her Nutradrench, probios, Keto gel, calcium paste. And lots of corn and sweets and bread. She has 6 weeks to go before kidding. It's alot of work but she will pull through. You caught it way early. Just keep doing what you're doing. They love bread and crackers. Give her all she wants right now. And apples too.

I am so sorry about all the chicks too. When it rains it pours, right? But this too shall pass. Just another day on the farm.

March 1, 2011 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Mama said...

I don't know, I think the best thing of all in your post is the image of you wading into a flock of sheep, grabbing Liset by the horn, pulling her out and then flipping her over. You need to get that on video. There is nothing better than realizing you can do what you have to do when it's time. Good job!

March 1, 2011 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger Ellen Rathbone said...


March 1, 2011 at 8:57 PM  
OpenID barntalkblog said...

Liset! Bill the goat sends you get-well wishes. I send her get-well wishes, too.

I hope the chicks get better, or at least the ones that are still alive keep kickin.' I know from my gram's chicks that they can have one step in the grave and another on a banana peel...


PS: Jenna, bottle feeding baby goats is LOADS of fun, so I would suppose bottle feeding sheep would be fun as well!

March 1, 2011 at 8:59 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hey, Jenna,
I hope your ewe recovers completely. Please don't get chicks for me. I already have six hens and really signed up for the workshop for the book, the knowledge, the fun and meeting fellow farmers. I haven't got any of the chick-raising equipment, at any rate. I'm sure the hatchery will refund you any costs for the ones who didn't survive the journey.

March 1, 2011 at 9:29 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I feel for you, Jenna! But I have to say that your "eat bread, people" comment made me laugh out loud. Even amid the chaos you kept your sense of humor.

March 1, 2011 at 9:52 PM  
Blogger E said...

Please don't grab sheep by their horns. Altho horns seem like a convenient handle, the horns can break off and then you're left with a bloody stump. Or the horn sheath can come off - more blood but now not only on a stump.

Plus it seems they don't like horn grabbing.

I hope you both have a better day tomorrow.

March 1, 2011 at 10:04 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

Jenna, I was scared last year when my goats were pregnant but everything turned out fine. This year, however, I had a first-timer dwarf goat who had twins in Feb and they both died the same day they were born. I will be having more babies but was told my saanen doe was over weight and would have problems if she didn't lose weight so I am a little worried about her. I cut way back on her grain but can't take her completely off grain because I am still milking her for at least another month .

March 1, 2011 at 10:30 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 1, 2011 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger RabbleRoost said...

I know now that we're in March, but February was a terrible month for me! On top of being sick all month, I was severely bitten by a territorial buck rabbit (almost passed out on that one, just now getting feeling back in my finger as it heals. Thankful it's on my left hand!), my dog ran off and was found six days later, brought to the pound, and I got him the next day. At least he was fine. A drunk driver rammed the front of my grandparents' house and cause a whole crapload of structural damage, and to top it all off my favorite goat died in the night yesterday. I know I'm not supposed to have any "favorites", but Nutmeg was the only specific doe I wanted other than a couple of Boers... My poor girl... I went to the barn and when she didn't come in I called for her... Found her laying there cold and stiff in the mud and rain. I think she bloated or (possibly) went on a ketosis kick herself. I'm new to this, I don't even know if she was bred due to running a buck with her all last year. Its doubtful i could tell the signs of ketosis, though to my knowledge she was in perfect health when i left her for the night. I noticed that she always did have a tendency to get a sour stomach though... Baking soda was usually enough. Wish I had the money to find out what happened for sure.

The entire situation is messed up. (No more bucks unless I have somewhere separate to keep them.)
I'm just glad we can all move on from the month from he'll that I've been having. Goodness, justthink of kidding season... x_x
And I only have two does!

Wow. Sorry to ramble.

March 1, 2011 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger Ruth @ Hope, Joy and Faith Farm said...

It's the scary stuff we don't think about when we are unloading all the critters, huh? Keeping fingers crossed all goes well from here on out. And thank you for telling me how to collect sheep urine. With 5 sheep on our place now, that's a good thing to know. I'd definitly call the hatchery and ask for a refund. I had a friend lose almost a whole order because of the cold weather. The next order, they included a heat pack of some sort. Hang in there...

March 1, 2011 at 11:01 PM  
Blogger RabbleRoost said...

Also... I was known as "Duck" before I kicked off my own blog, if anyone cares, and my iPhone likes to autocorrect things at will. Have at it.

March 1, 2011 at 11:04 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Wow- what a roller coaster ride of a day! I'm sure glad you have somebody like Shellee to call and that she lives so close. Too sad that you lost so many chicks! A quarter of them seems way high a number. Poor little things.

Good luck keeping everybody alive and thriving! You as well.

March 1, 2011 at 11:04 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Oy, I have had days like yours. You get through on adrenaline and prayers. You can use probiotic powder in the water for chicks maybe - they also recommend sugar, but you probably already know this.
And Ketosis is treatable and reversable. Good for you for catching it! Careful drenching Liset on her back as she may aspirate, but you probably know this, too. If it is a syringe you are using, putting it in the corner of the mouth as far back as you can will ensure she works her tongue, and is swallowing... If it is a stomach tube, well that's different but easy once you get the hang of it.
Being a shepherdess, you are also a sheep vet out of necessity! You can do it.

March 1, 2011 at 11:32 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

p.s. be sure to be reimbursed for your chicks - it's in the hatcheries best interest to provide 100% viable chicks.

March 1, 2011 at 11:34 PM  
Blogger Jenny Glen said...

Well, I've had sheep for 13 years now and my husband has had them over 25 and neither of us knew that if you turn a sheep over and plug it's nose it pees. Really? We'll have to experiment.
On another topic, don't you think flipping Scotties is the hardest thing? I've rolled several breeds of sheep but nothing was harder than my Scotties. I swore that their 4th leg was actually a kickstand.
Oh, and I have heard about not grabbing sheep by the horns but I always grabbed my Scotties by the horns (the BEST handles) and never had one come off in my hand, but my ram lamb pulled his off somewhere in my yard.

March 1, 2011 at 11:37 PM  
Blogger Infinite Possibilities said...


My friend swears by this stuff! I don't remember exactly where I heard it, but someone used this same recipe on their half alive mail order birds and they perked up and MADE it!!! Anyhow, I'm posting the recipe below and some of her comments re: the recipe from other posts. BTW...it's good for us too...not just the birds!!!

Dr. Schultz's Plague Formula (From Organic Chicken Forum)
1 handful each of onion, garlic (regular, not elephant, which is not a true garlic), ginger, hot peppers and horse radish.
Chop coarsely and put into a blender.
Add enough Organic Apple Cider Vinegar to cover and process.
Blend fairly well. Does not have to be smooth.
Pour in a glass jar.
Put wax paper under the lid, so no metal can come into contact with mixture...acid in vinegar (or use a plastic lid).
After it settles down, there should be about 3/4 inch of vinegar covering the pulp.
Sit in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks.
Shake or stir 1 to 2 times per day.

Take 1 - 3 tablespoons per day. If you cannot take that much, start with less and work up to it. The more you take, the more you will build up your hot tolerance. Yes, give to your children and chickens. This tonic will get you well and help you stay well. You do not have to refrigerate it - nothing will live in it. If you take this, you should not get sick with colds, flu, etc. this winter. If I had sickly or confined chickens, I would put some in their water every day (remember to use a plastic watering container not metal...due to the acid in vinegar).
The pulp can be used as a relish on food - quite tasty! Or feed it to the chickens - they cannot taste hot.

And the chicks...one was barely breathing and laying
> there with it's mouth open. We both thought it wouldn't make it through the
> night. It perked up after drinking the water with the tonic added. So, I'm a
> huge believer in this recipe and other stuff I've tried with chickens
> (homeopathic ledum, hypericum, etc)..

March 1, 2011 at 11:43 PM  
Blogger Infinite Possibilities said...


I wanted to tell you that I was in my local feed store in Sebastopol, Ca. a couple days ago and they had YOUR book on display in their chicken display. YOUR book was the only one on display. I smiled for you and said "yessssss" as I walked by. Yay for you!

March 1, 2011 at 11:49 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

Wow I'm sorry you had such a rough day, but you handled it with grace and tenacity, just like any experienced farmer would. I can sympathize with your day mine kinda sucked too, between 181 miles commuting both ways, accidentally deleting a batch of invoices on the system I'm learning and to top it off coming home to a $1945 bill for an ambulance ride my 17 year old took after he and his friend got rear-ended, and he wasn't even hurt! Ugh! Tomorrow will be better for us both, (um that's not a guarantee, just a hope lol).

March 2, 2011 at 12:27 AM  
Blogger daisy said...

What stands out to me is that your instincts were totally spot on. You knew something was wrong with Liset and you knew just what to do in that situation. You have come a long way in your farming! Congrats on handling a very difficult situation.

March 2, 2011 at 6:17 AM  
Blogger Kathleen Stoltzfus said...

I had a ewe last year that very nearly died from ketosis. Propylene glycol twice a day, grain, and being put into her own pen where she would not have to compete with the others for food turned her around (however, when her twins were born, everything stank to high heaven! I'm sure there's a reason for that, but I don't know what it is.) The babes had to be supplemented with bottles and they started out extremely tiny, but everything turned out well in the end. This year I'm making doubly sure that all the girls are getting their fair share of hay! It's so hard to tell they are thin when in full fleece.

And yes, the hatchery should give you a refund for the chicks that died. That has also happened to me.

Good luck with everything!

March 2, 2011 at 6:20 AM  
Blogger Kathy P. said...

I'm glad that Liset's condition is under control and hopefully her lambing will be uneventful. But I do want to set the record straight on one little point: Dietary ketosis in humans is not at all dangerous and carbohydrates are not necessary in our diets. In fact, most people go into a mild state of ketosis every night while they sleep. On the other hand, diabetic ketoacidosis is clearly a very dangerous condition (usually in Type 1 diabetics), needing immediate medical treatment. There are mountains of information on all this that won't fit into a blog comment (and certainly would be off topic) but ketosis vs. ketoacidosis in people is a common confusion. The first is harmless in healthy people; the second should set off alarm bells. Given the difference in sheep physiology vs. humans, ketosis in sheep is probably a whole different story.

March 2, 2011 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger Shmoopywood said...

Do keep us posted on the status of Liset. I have always wanted sheep and goats and maybe someday that dream will come true for me! For now, I live through people like you!

ALso sorry to hear about the little fluffy butts. I delayed our shipment until april because the weather here has been so unpredictable and cold.

March 2, 2011 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger treehuggers kitchen said...

And again, a size 2 girly girl would not have been able to grab this day by the horns (pun completely intended) and take charge. Good for you for being able to think clearly AND get in a productive day at work as well!

March 2, 2011 at 8:02 AM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

Don't worry too much about the ketosis. You caught it early and I'm sure she'll be fine. I'd definitely pen her alone (or with a buddy) so you can make sure she's getting enough grain. Also, I wouldn't flip her to drench her anymore. She doesn't need the stress, and drenching is usually done with the sheep in an upright position with their head level (not tipped upwards). :-)

I also had a scare about 2 weeks ago when I found one of my ewes prolapsed. Vet had to come out and give her an epidural and a Buhner stitch (in the vulva) to keep her from prolapsing again. For the past 2 weeks I've been on alert because I'll have to cut the stitch in order for her to lamb. Today is day 145 and hopefully she'll lamb soon!

March 2, 2011 at 8:20 AM  
Blogger MilkMaid09 said...

Good to know about the sheep trick. Most hatcheries will give you a refund or at least a credit that you can use later towards other stuff. I do know that they won't send replacement chicks unless you order their minimum amt.

March 2, 2011 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger doglady said...

If your chicks were older than 72 hours they had used up their yolk store. I lost a bunch of meat chicks last fall for the same reason. A gal who raises meat chickens as a business told me she puts molasses in their first water and she doesn't lose any. I've also been told Braggs Apple Cider vinegar will work. Your hatchery will give credit for the deceased birds but probably won't be able to supply chicks. Be careful buying chicks at TS because often these places get Production Reds and call them RIR.

March 2, 2011 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

As others have said - you sound extremely competent and deserve congratulations on juggling sick sheep with new chicks and a halfday at the office.

I definitely didn't know about making sheep pee by closing their nostrils while they are on their backs, and this made me laugh :o)

March 2, 2011 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

It's a little bit odd for me. While I believe in intercessory prayer, I never prayed for a sheep.I never even thought about praying for sheep. Of course I never owned a sheep.

March 2, 2011 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

Well done! Stay positive and keep giving your animals the loving care you always do, and you'll do just fine. And if you have to face this again, you'll know what you're dealing with!

March 2, 2011 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Oh my. It seems trial by fire. Those are the worst and best learning experiences. I honestly would have not handled it as well as you did I am sure.

25% seems like a lot of chicks to loose that would be miserable as well on such a day. I always plan for 10%... hmmm...

Thinking about you. Hope all goes better tomorrow.

March 2, 2011 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

did your vet check the other ewes while she was there to make sure they are at healthy weights?

have you considered what type of hay you are feeding your sheep... what is its nutritional value compared to other types? legumes (ex alfalfa) have a much higher nutrient content than grass hay (orchard grass etc.).

sounds like the vet isnt too concerned and hopefully she'll be fine.

sorry to hear about your chicks, thats a devastating loss.

...other commenters, please keep in mind muscle mass, strength, and endurance comes in all pant sizes. size 2 to 12 (and below and beyond).

March 2, 2011 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger shannonstoney said...

Norman Kennedy once told me, "Sheep find hundreds of ways to die." Apparently they are tricky animals to keep, somewhat fragile. Good luck with Liset.
February has been a hard month for me too. My partner sprained his ankle; we both got the flu; we found out our water is radioactive; my employer couldn't pay all the employees; and somebody got kidnapped at gunpoint in our 'hood. Is it the stars?

March 2, 2011 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

Thank you for posting this. As someone whose animal experience is limited to a dog and a cat, I appreciate the opportunity to hear more about what goes into farming. I will give my knitting wool a gentle pat in Liset's honor. Here's to a full recovery!

March 2, 2011 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger Katie K said...

I hope she recovers quickly! im wishing a smooth lambing your way

March 2, 2011 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

What I want to know is, how did the first person figure out THAT was how to make a sheep pee, and does it work with any other mammals?

March 2, 2011 at 4:58 PM  
Blogger georgie said...

Wow I feel like such a wuss for being semi-overwhelmed with a dog in stage 1 renal failure. The vet laughs because just the idea of evacuating my two dogs' anal glands turns my stomach. Then, here you go, slaughtering a pig, flipping sheep over and giving them meds, etc. Hope Liset gets better soon. Is lambing season this month or April?

March 2, 2011 at 8:14 PM  
Blogger mgamroth said...

Oh, Jenna, I feel for you. Recently, I lost one of my beloved ewes to toxemia. She didn't show the usual signs but with carrying multiple lambs the risks for toxemia (and the caloric needs) increased dramatically. Unfortunately, I made the call to euthanize her as she was suffering.
Whew! And just today another ewe with triplets ran into a difficult labor. We had to pull her lambs but only two of three survived.
You haven't lived until you've given a ewe a pelvic exam..'
I wish you a smoother lambing season. And bless large animal vets.

March 2, 2011 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger butterflycow said...

I hope your girl is doing well this evening.. since you have not updated I will figure no news is good news..
I spent the day in town running errands and being grateful I live way out in the country.. and thinking about your ewe.. and being glad both my girls are barren.. if the maternal urge strikes me a one-three hour drive will garner me almost any breed of lamb I wish bottle or weaned.. or foal for that matter..
Anyhow.. been thinking about you and hoping all is well..
in MN who is glad she has no current maternal urges.. lol

March 2, 2011 at 8:46 PM  
Blogger Reason's Whore said...

She should be okay since you caught it early. We had a case last year and treated it with glycol and something else (a pain reliever?) and the ewe had twins and fed them without a hitch.

Good you are watchful.

March 3, 2011 at 12:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Since I started feeding a pound of whole corn each a day 6 weeks prior to lambing I've not had one case. Its scary isnt it. We try so hard to keep them strong and healthy and do all the right things. I had my very first prolaps last week. That was interesting. I feed free choice excellent quality hay, 4 pounds each alfala hay, and now two pounds each whole corn. Should be lambing next week. Then I'll keep feeding corn for a couple of weeks but reduce it a little each day till I'm sure everone is out of the woods. Understanding protien and energy is really important durring late gestation.
You are so lucky you have a vet who will come to you. In oklahoma thats really hard to come by and very expensive. One vet was going to charge me $700 to look at my sheep who prolapsed. (dont worry it rare)Ugh!

March 3, 2011 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

Sorry to hear about Liset. Hope she gets better for you.

Call Murrary McMurray and tell them about your mortalities. That seems like a lot to me. Hopefully they can give you a refund or maybe replacements.

Ah, farm life. Wouldn't trade it for anything!

March 3, 2011 at 1:31 PM  
Blogger downeast becka said...

No fun! Our Oberhasli doe came down with ketosis last year about 4 wks before kidding...lots of glycol, plying her with grain and hay, it was hard b/c she didn't have much appetite...birth went well though and even though she still didn't have much appetite, we kept up with the glycol and tasty high protein grain and she nursed well and had lots of milk...came back totally! I'm sure you caught it soon enough and she will be fine...good luck!

March 3, 2011 at 2:55 PM  
Blogger beccaWA said...

Here's another good PDF on Ketosis: http://www.pipevet.com/userfiles/file/SheepArticles/Gestating/PREGNANCY%20KETOSIS.pdf

March 3, 2011 at 7:31 PM  

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