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Author Topic: what should i be doing for my sheep?  (Read 578 times)

Getoffmyland

  • Joined May 2015
what should i be doing for my sheep?
« on: January 11, 2017, 09:39:21 pm »
Hi all,

I have read this forum avidly for several years and i would like to thank everyone for the great resource I have found it - especially when my lambs were young.

I have a small flock (6!)of non breeding, non eating sheep (grass cutters essentially). in one of my paddocks. two ewes and four Tups - all were orphans that we bottle fed from 3 days old last year and the year before.

A local farmer grazes his flock on my other fields and last year from April -October he wormed, sheared etc... my six when he did his flock.

However, I am concerned that I may need to be taking more preventative actions for my six pets now as i don't see what he does Nov-April as his flock arent here. 

Is there anywhere a checklist of annual activities re vaccinations or other key activities which a relatively new sheepkeeper like myself might be able to look at? For instance i have read a lot about heptavac - and people seem to be doing it now? i have never heard of it...

when should i worm them? what should i use?

also, what and when do people use Clik or Crovect... is it just for flystrike or does it do other things? I have been using an organic

how often should i be trimming feet...? I am sure the farmer never does it... does that mean i don't need to?

My sheep are in the same paddock year in, year out. It would be tricky to rotate them, but i could temporary fence off and let them graze an area at a time... is this really necessary - why? or will six sheep just be ok in a 2 acre paddock.

The vert comes out every 3 months or so for one ailment or foot complaint or another and after giving them a shot of something and trimming the hooves he disappears and sends me a large bill (grrr). I suspect i am being billed as a pet owner rather than as a farmer (which is true but still sticks in the throat) I usually get billed about £80 a visit - which soon adds up. what do other people in the south east pay for an ag vet visit with one shot of antibiotic?

i know these are all slightly silly and obvious questions but i want to make sure i am not missing anything vital...



DartmoorLiz

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • Devon
Re: what should i be doing for my sheep?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2017, 10:05:47 pm »
There's a great book called Sheep Health, Husbandry and Disease: A Photographic Guide by Agnes Winter that explains everything.  She clearly loves sheep, is a vet, and is very practical about what sheep need without being over the top.

Your vet bills sound about the same as here.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 10:07:54 pm by DartmoorLiz »
Never ever give up.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: what should i be doing for my sheep?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2017, 11:25:35 pm »
<<< what do other people in the south east pay for an ag vet visit with one shot of antibiotic? >>>

I don't call the vet out to give one shot of antibiotic.  I keep two kinds on the shelf and have learned when to use them and when not.

There's plenty about feet on TAS.  Most folk check feet, if only by keeping an eye open for limping, but only trim when essential.  The trick is to know when, and what are the alternatives.

The purpose of rotating grazing is to be able to offer clean grazing to newly weaned lambs ie it will be clear, or relatively clear, of worms and other parasites.  Older sheep, especially if not undergoing the stresses of pregnancy and feeding, usually build up a tolerance of a small worm burden.
Worming sheep at regular intervals whether they need it or not, is something which contributes to the resistance of worms to wormers.  This anthelmintic resistance is a massive problem.  Only worm if you suspect an animal has worms, and you have had a faecal egg count done, which comes back positive.  Then only treat the sheep showing symptoms.
Another reason for rotating sheep is for grass management.

We have several non-breeders and find they need much less intervention than the breeders.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 11:17:44 am by Fleecewife »
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sheeponthebrain

  • Joined Feb 2016
  • Turriff
Re: what should i be doing for my sheep?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2017, 03:36:47 am »
Why not ask the local farmer to pop round to do the odd bad foot rather than the vet. His call out charge would likely be cheaper and available in 70cl bottles ;)

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder

Princessrubyk

  • Joined Oct 2014
Re: what should i be doing for my sheep?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2017, 10:48:01 am »
hi
are the tups castrated?
if not you may find you end up with lambs unexpectedly

i have a sheet that a farmer friend gave me i will see if i can get it scanned onto the computer and then post it on here

pharnorth

  • Joined Nov 2013
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: what should i be doing for my sheep?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2017, 11:15:33 am »
Despite reading the books and all the great advice on this forum when I got my first sheep I struggled with where to start, as the 'sheep year' doesn't have a beginning or end in reality, it all depends on what has gone before.  You've already got most of the advice you need above but for my two pennies worth

- Heptavac does all the major diseases you will need two doses a few weeks apart now, which means two bottles as when opened shelf life is 10 hours.  Then an annual booster.  People vaccinating now are mostly doing pregnant ewes with a booster.
- Trimming feet research on large flocks nowadays is not to do it, but cull or treat lame sheep. However if you are needing the Vet once a quarter for a flock of six you may need to ask your local farmer if this is conditions or your breed as seems a lot. The charge rate is right. Mine is £70 call out £20 to examine. Remember down here in the time it has taken to get to you they can treat 6 or 7 cats at £50 a go!  Watch and learn next time the Vet calls, it is easy enough to do a hoof clean up and poultice and ab jab and learn when it is needed and when to call the Vet.
- Do a worm count.  Take some dropping to the Vet usually about £15. They will advise on when and what to worm but if your farmer is doing it April to Nov you are probably covered. 
- You were lucky to avoid fly strike last year without Clik or  Crovect. Talk to the farmer and see what he is using and when as again it is the April to November period that needs cover. It will only be used in other months if something less common has occurred (e.g lice )

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: what should i be doing for my sheep?
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2017, 12:33:07 pm »
[size=78%]The charge rate is right. Mine is £70 call out £20 to examine. Remember down here in the time it has taken to get to you they can treat 6 or 7 cats at £50 a go!  Watch and learn next time the Vet calls, it is easy enough to do a hoof clean up and poultice and ab jab and learn when it is needed and when to call the Vet. [/size]



Blimey our vet doesn't charge a call out fee in office hours and you only pay for the time spent on farm. So I would disagree and say those charges are expensive- are you using a dedicated large animal vet rather than calling on your small animal vet?

BenBhoy

  • Joined Aug 2011
  • Nottinghamshire
Re: what should i be doing for my sheep?
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2017, 12:33:55 pm »
What age are your sheep? If your not lambing them I wouldn't bother with heptvac p or ovivac.

You should only worm them if they need worming. Do FEC first then decide to worm or not.

Clik provides you with protection against fkystrike, it will bind to the entire fleece to protect. Crovect treats established strike and will protect but only where it's applied. Other products are available. I use dysect.

You should never ever ever routinely trim feet, you'll do more harm than good. If you have lame of one then AB and spray. I cull repeat offenders...

Resting the ground would be good if you have worm burden  (FEC) but not always practical. Do you top, manage grass in anyway?

pharnorth

  • Joined Nov 2013
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: what should i be doing for my sheep?
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2017, 01:14:07 pm »
@twizzel   Afraid so, he did ask South East we are East Herts/Cambs. My Vet comes about 20 miles, but that can be 40 minutes to an hour.  And that is the charge around here. Plenty of small animal Vets none of which will come out to farm animals. Plenty of horse Vets, ditto and similar charges. But then house prices etc are sky high so is everything else. I'm just grateful to get a good Vet when I need one as there is a lot more money in doing pets.

CarolineJ

  • Joined Dec 2015
  • North coast of Scotland
Re: what should i be doing for my sheep?
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2017, 04:53:09 pm »
I pay £35 for a call-out, which is 26 miles each way for the vet, but I'm right on the edge of the boundary for that charge, it gets more expensive 5 miles past me.

Getoffmyland

  • Joined May 2015
Re: what should i be doing for my sheep?
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2017, 07:40:34 pm »
Thanks so much everyone. That is all great advice and very helpful. I know a lot of this is on AS here and there, but sometimes I just want to make sure I have understood it properly.

The farmer (well his shepherdess) did Clik last year and I use a natural rub in repellent - http://www.barrier-biotech.com/product.php?pid=BR as well on a weekly/fortnightly basis.

I don't trim routinely - because I am not very good at it, and I check weekly when its wet. I top half the field if it gets too long in the growing season.

The worm count check is great advice - I will do that before i worry about worming them.

all the boys are castrated so i won't get any babies... and 2 of the sheep are almost two years old, 4 are almost one year old.

so - in summary - I should get my own ABs. I should order the book by Agnes Winter and get a Faec test done.

so to heptavac or not is the question? I would like them to live and be protected as they are pets and i am very fond of each of them... but equally i dont want to pump them full of drugs if its not necessary...


billy_wiz

  • Joined Dec 2014
  • Anglesey
Re: what should i be doing for my sheep?
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2017, 08:21:17 pm »
Just read your post and we are in the same situation, another good book is Hayes sheep manual.....in my opinion it's one of the best books available.

Good luck

 
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