Wednesday, September 28, 2011

a few good sheep

After work I set about treating (what I assumed to be) hoof rot in Sal. His on and off again limp was back, and this time the sides of his hoof were coming off like shingles. I penned him in with Atlas and washed his hooves with soapy water, trimmed them, washed them down with Hoof-n-Heel, and gave him a shot of Pro-Pen G. It took about half an hour and when all was said and done I left him in the pen. He could get regular doses of whatever he needed there, and Atlas seemed to like the company.

Just as I was locking up their hold, I noticed one of the Cotswold lambs limping. It took a while to catch her, but it was clear the only reason I could was the limp. I checked her over and saw no bruises, blood, cuts, nails or issues with her feet. I trimmed them a little (though they barely needed it) and sent her on her way again. In case it was an infection, I decided to load up another syringe of her weight dose of the antibiotic and went back to the fields with a crook in one hand and the needle in the other. I made a quick catch with the crook around her neck, flipped her, and medicated her right quick. I checked her eyelids, and they were pink. She seemed totally fine minus the light limp. I made a mental note to pick up more anti-toxin for spring.

As I watched her limp off I said a small prayer, hoping she would heal. I'm getting worried about some of these sheep. Most seem fine, but a few Blackfaces seem gaunt. I wormed them all last week in case it was that, and started adding more grain to their fall diets, but 7-06 is acting odd, like Lisette did when she was at her worst (who, by the way, is fine, if not the scrappiest and sorriest looking animal in the lot). If a sheep is dewormed, has fresh water and plenty to eat, open spaces, no sign of mucus, limping, or stress? What can it be? She's not pregnant? It can't be a toxemia? Perhaps they need more minerals? I was told that we don't have selenium in our soil here. I'll get them a fresh lick Friday at the Agway in Salem. This blog post has become nothing more than a shepherd thinking on a computer to herself...

Anyone have any suggestions? I'm devouring my sheep books but I have a feeling this isn't a disease as much as it is a lack of something....

20 Comments:

Blogger Kira said...

Jenna,
Might there be a weed or herb or some other plant in your field they are eating that's making them sick? Sure sheep eat grass but could they be munching on some toxic plant species that's growing with your grass? Maybe a search of plants toxic to sheep might be required. Or a thorough walk through your fields with a plant expert. Or perhaps it's stress related. Are the sexes separated? Is Jasper running around with them and maybe causing them some anxiety? Could there be a rogue dog in your area that "visits" during the day while you're at work? I don't know much about sheep and don't have any of my own but these are my thoughts.

September 28, 2011 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger Stace said...

I had issues with some of my sheep's feet...I bought some zinc and added it to their minerals and the only time I've had limping since is because of overgrown hooves. I also noticed that once I added the zinc their hooves hardened up a LOT. Right now I feed sheep mineral, mixed with selplex, kelp and the zinpro40....I also bought a bag of goat minerals (yes, I realize it's a big no-no because of copper) because my dark sheep are starting to show a bit of copper deficiency in their wool...I give them free choice and some times the copper minerals are totally gone, sometimes it's not even touched. I have found that many sheep ailments can be prevented by finding the right mineral mix that works for your flock. Good luck, I hope everyone starts feeling better!

September 28, 2011 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

I'm wondering if it has something to do with all the rain we've had. Meningeal worm? Or maybe something insect-borne - not sure if sheep are vulnerable to the types of things that horses are, like West Nile, EEE, things like that. My sheep (so far) are fat and sound. I give them a free-choice powdered mineral from Hoosac Valley Farmers Exchange in Schaghticoke. They'll go days without touching it, and then suddenly eat it all. I've noticed they tend to eat more when it's warm and humid.

September 28, 2011 at 8:32 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I think the plant check and the mineral check is great advice. It's just three sheep, out of 16, in questionable shape. But I want them all back to great before snowfly.

September 28, 2011 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Diane, where is that place you are talking about? where you got your minerals?

September 28, 2011 at 8:35 PM  
Blogger Molly Piper said...

Check this out
http://www.pascalite.com/AboutP.htm
It has worked wonders for my animals and family, with all sorts of different maladies, sores, infections, even mange on a dog.

September 28, 2011 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

No advice to give but fingers and toes crossed that all 16 are right as rain again soon.

September 28, 2011 at 11:06 PM  
Blogger Marci said...

We found out the hard way last year that all the stone fruit leaves are just like the wild cherry leaves. If they are eaten green it is OK. If they eat them when they are wilting, they cause all sorts of issues including death.

We have also found that we need to use 2 different wormers. The Valbazen we use gets most things, but there are a couple it won't. So we alternate with an Ivermec wormer. We were also by a local shepherd to get wormers that are meant to be a drench and not injectable.

Hope you figure out what the problem is.

September 29, 2011 at 5:32 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

thank you all!

September 29, 2011 at 5:46 AM  
Blogger MIB said...

Just to add my two cents:

We've found the loose, bagged mineral easier for our sheep to deal with than blocks. Especially in hot or humid weather, they eat it up like crazy.

I have other thoughts on minerals and supplements, but I think I'll save that for another time. ;-)

September 29, 2011 at 6:16 AM  
Blogger Greentwinsmummy said...

I seperated the lambs from the ewes a long while back,it gives the ewes a chance to regain a bit of condition and a bit of peace ha!
I also use two wormers,I expect the brand names will be different here in the UK but basically one will deal with roundworms/intestinalworms AND liver fluke and the other only deals with round worms/intestinal worms.

I foot check monthly too, obviously the flock is observed every day but they need once a month bringing in and up ending to really look at those feet,most of the time nothing needs doing but thats fine! Sometimes they wont be limping JUST then but you see a problem and can deal with it there and then so they dont end up limping.

Are they moved enough? I move mine here between 5 fields, so each pasture gets at least a 3 week rest,or longer when there are fewer lambs and the flock is reunited over winter for ease of hay feeding.Each bit then can have a month rest before its regrazed.

Have you used something (again the names will be different but here its Clik Pour On) to protect against fly strike? They can *hide* maggot damage quite well untl they lose cndition and then keel over. I do it twice here,once after shearing and I did it a few weeks ago as its very hot and humid here at the moment.

I hope you can find out whats wrong?What a worry, theres always something with livestock.
GTM x x x x

September 29, 2011 at 7:19 AM  
Blogger Lorri said...

For minerals, if any of the sheep are going to freezer camp then get the animals liver tested for minerals - look at what you have, what you need, and what you have too much of. Too much of one mineral can bind up another and leave the impression of a deficiency you don't actually have. And I second checking the plants in your pasture. They might be poisonous, and they may help you find a soil deficiency (some only grow where certain things are deficient, etc.).

September 29, 2011 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

I second the loose mineral over a block. Sheep can chip teeth trying to chew on the block.

Also, I would never supplement sheep with copper. It can build up in their systems and then if they get stressed one day (or just for no reason out of the blue) it can cause death. If you're having fleeces fade, cover them with a coat.

Jenna, I'd recommend getting a fecal sample done. SHould be fairly cheap, and you can be sure of what worms they do or don't have and worm accordingly.

On the footrot, I like LA-200 better than Pen G. LA-200 is long acting, so often one shot and you're done. Pen G needs to be administered several days in a row, which is a huge PITA. Keep in mind LA-200 stings, so be ready for a reaction from the sheep. You may be able to find Biomycin which is the same thing minus the sting.

I'd also recommend using some scrap lumber to get their feed off the ground. They shouldn't be eating off the ground since they walk and crap on the ground...it's a good way to transfer worms and easily avoidable by just building a simple hay feeder.

Those are my main tips for now! If the lambs are still nursing at all, get them separated from the ewes. And make sure all the ewes can eat at the same time, just in case someone is being a bully and hogging all the feed.

That's all the advice I have for now. Good luck!

September 29, 2011 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Jenna, last year I had a terrible out break with foot rot, I had a very large flock and it was difficult to manage. I did get it under control after much hard work.
LA200 specificily for foot rot the pen G at least I've been told will have no effect. Coppertox. Stuff is flipping nasty but it works! put it in a spray bottle and spray hooves. you can also make a foot bath by building a long shallow troff and line it with like a green house plastic put the coppertox or other mix and place it in an area they have to walk through. It gets terrible nasty in two days so just put enough to get the hooves wet on the bottom. If you have one or two animals that just keeps getting it you'll have to cull or you will never ever get rid of it. It thrives in wet soggy soil so obviously be dillegent in clean bedding. For me last year it was impossible we had so so much rain. Oh treat with the LA200 three days in a row. That really made a difference. Add some kelp to your minerals and try loose free feed instead of mineral blocks if you dont already. you can add some DE also.
As far as wormies go, get a fecal from your vet to find out what your dealing with. Barberpole worm is what we have here (OK) and it is a killer. So many wormers dont work anymore so you have to be kill specific. I use (only when nessesary) cydectin pour on for cattle (its purple) you drench 1cc per 20 pounds. Its the last resort wormer for barberpole so you really do want to do fecals. In a bad case I back the wormer up with pen G the worm die off can also cause infection and If an sheep is down I Give B complex (appitite)I give 5CC for 125 pound ewe. I also back it up with iron. I have had lambs recover. This is an ongoing conversation and my life revolves around all of this and fencing. I really hope this helps and you do know none of us have this mastered we just keep trying. Its seems like since I got into the sheep business all I do is just try to keep them alive until they go to the butcher. Its so frustrating. I've thought many times about giving it up but every year more lambs. Good luck. It sounds like you already have a lot of knowledge and support.

September 29, 2011 at 11:24 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Not sure about sheep, but I know for the horses and cows we rotate the wormers we give them, so that should something develop a resistance to one, hopefully the next round clears them out.
Good luck!

September 29, 2011 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger Kimberlie Ott said...

out of my league here, but it looks like you have lots of good advisers, I enjoy the wool, so have best wishes for the sheep, good luck~

September 29, 2011 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger pawsfurme said...

http://fiascofarm.com/herbs/

I use the herbal wormers from this site (and other supplements from her) on my goats. Worms can't become resistant to it, so I don't have to worry about changing out brands or worrying about milk contamination. I haven't gotten around to learning to do fecal checks, but each time I check eyelids on my little herd, everyone's pink. I've only ever used a chemical wormer once and that turned out to be a mineral deficiency, not a worm problem. Worms love animals who have mineral deficiencies, so getting loose minerals will probably cut down your worm count anyway. I second getting your hay off the ground. I designed my own little hay racks and they work really well. They're really simple to make if you'd like the blueprints. If sheep are anything like my goats, your cost in hay will decrease dramatically from less waste.
If my name comes up lindybabyfarm, I'm also pawsfurme.

September 29, 2011 at 5:29 PM  
Blogger goatldi said...

Take a look at http://www.custommilling.com/

I have been buying their Goat Golden Blend for about 15 + years. I love it and so do my girls. Even my Great Pyr. LGD eats it. We are in an area where selenium can be none existent in allot of hay. I used to offer salt licks only when first in goats. But consider how much licking time need be spent to get all the minerals required, just about impossible before their little tongues roll up in their heads. Loose minerals are much better.

At any rate they also produce sheep ,alpaca and llama minerals so see if there is something you can use. They aren't expensive but the FOB will kill you. But in my opinion well worth it. Good luck!

September 29, 2011 at 6:14 PM  
Blogger Tiffrz-N-Kidz said...

Two of my sheep were limping and I read that they have a scent gland between their toes that can get clogged up. I squeezed about 2 full inches of nasty yellow gel-toothpaste-like goo out of each of their poor feet and voila! No limping.

September 29, 2011 at 6:39 PM  
Blogger Chance said...

False foot rot is an infection of the scent gland between their toes. When it has been a really wet season, the gland can get infected. While antibiotics can check it, you do need to squeeze it out. If you google false foot rot there are a few articles out there but the summary treatment is, as the previous poster described, to noodle around between their toes and see if you can express any pus from their scent glands. Good luck! Keep us posted on the prognosis of the limpers.

September 30, 2011 at 7:00 PM  

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