NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Limping sheep - new keeper!  (Read 803 times)

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Limping sheep - new keeper!
« on: April 12, 2019, 05:12:43 pm »
Hi,

I’ve had my sheep for two weeks now. They’re yearlings. I’ve been checking them regularly to see if any look off colour or have issues. Today I’ve noticed one is limping slightly on one of her front legs.

My first reaction is to try and grab her (don’t ask me how!) and investigate, but looking on previous threads advice seemed to be to leave at first and see if it improves? Is this right?

I am a new keeper and am therefore going to be extra concerned about every little thing until I get some experience! So should I try and have a look right away, or leave it till tomorrow (or the next day?) before trying to wrangle her? I was planning on transferring them to an adjoining field tomorrow.

Any advice welcomed.

« Last Edit: April 12, 2019, 05:14:29 pm by tommytink »
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crobertson

  • Joined Sep 2015
Re: Limping sheep - new keeper!
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2019, 06:50:34 pm »
Welcome to keeping sheep! We ourselves are relatively new and have had ours about 3-4 years, still keep on learning!

Touch wood ours don't limp that often and we check them twice a day so can spot when it started but if I spotted one of ours that had started limping I would personally leave it for a day just in case they've sprained or strained it, got a loose stone stuck it in etc and would avoid trying to catch it in case it made an injury worse. If they were limping less the day after then I would leave them to recover but monitor closely.

If after a day or so they were still limping I would want to have a look and treat anything that needed it early to nip it in the bud. I like to bucket train ours so its usually relatively stress free and can encourage the ewe into a pen to avoid chasing it around, if you're changing fields tomorrow it may be worth a quick look?

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Limping sheep - new keeper!
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2019, 08:24:33 pm »
Thank you for the reply!

We did have a little go at catching her earlier but they are pretty skitty so no luck, and didn’t want to stress them or cause further injury. We’ve had them two weeks and so far there are about three that recognize the bucket and just yesterday got to one taking the nuts from my hand. Unfortunately for us they don’t seem to flock much so the others carry on with the grass and we are getting three fat sheep! It was recommended to get a couple of older sheep to lead the younger ones, and we have the option to get a couple when they’re available from the person we’ve got these from (they have lambs with them at the moment) but now there are a couple that will come and the others don’t I don’t know if the older ones will help much  ???

Anyway, their feet were all checked and tidied when we got them so that hopefully shouldn’t be an issue, and although they’re in one of our wetter fields it’s been pretty dry.

We have a plan on how to get hold of her tomorrow or the next day when we move them. So we shall see! Just wish the ones that come to see us would tell their sisters about the nuts!!

Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Limping sheep - new keeper!
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2019, 08:30:30 pm »
Try to find out what is wrong with her before moving fields as if it is anything like footrot you will only be spreading it onot new pasture.

crobertson

  • Joined Sep 2015
Re: Limping sheep - new keeper!
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2019, 09:22:45 pm »
No problem, the likely cause is if you've only just had them the grass is slightly long that can irritate in-between the hooves and start off scald etc, a quick check and a spray with Terramycin spray (from vets) or another hoof spray usually stops it developing into something more serious.

P.s don't worry about being extra vigilant at first, that means you're checking them properly and if it helps ours are a hill breed and pretty much came with very little human interaction - didnt take long for them to catch on to what the bucket means :)


tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Limping sheep - new keeper!
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2019, 09:51:20 am »
Ours are the same, hill/mountain sheep - Welsh Badger Faces. They were previously in big fields and left to get on with things and we’re just checked on. The farmer did say they might not be interested in the bucket now we’ve got the grass and if only we’d had them earlier when grazing wasn’t so good! As I said we have a small group that recognise it, and one or two eating out my hand, but the others stay back, or by the time they get closer the greedy sheep have eaten it, and if I go to replenish the flighty ones run off and the greedies get it again!

I don’t know how long scald or footrot takes to manifest? All feet were checked prior to going in to field. It’s not massively boggy or constant wet and it’s been pretty dry since they’ve come. So would hope it’s nothing like that.

I have the Footmaster spray. The previous keeper left a little of the Cyclo spray but as this was vet prescribed to her I don’t think I can use it as I have to record in medical book don’t I?

Do I need to notify my vet that I have sheep now? My dog is already with them so they have my details. Before I got them I sent an email enquiring about wormers and fluke but never got a response. I thought it’d be easier to email so someone that knew could reply instead of calling and getting their receptionist but maybe not!

Will go and look at them now and she how she’s moving. Really hope we won’t know which one it was now!

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Limping sheep - new keeper!
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2019, 02:49:44 pm »
Scald is a pre cursor to foot rot- it’s the same bacteria that causes both foot problems. I’ve had a few ewes with scald the past few weeks, blue spray on all 4 feet between the toes will sort it. Scald can come on fairly quick, advanced foot rot can take longer to manifest if not caught early.


I never had much success with the purple foot sprays, it’s the antibiotic in the blue spray that makes it more effective; prescription only so you’ll need to get some from the vet. [size=78%]Check your vet for the dog also is a large animal vet, if they are a small animal practice they might not treat sheep, in which case you need a large animal practice.   [/size]

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: Limping sheep - new keeper!
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2019, 03:35:09 pm »
Use the Cyclo spray ,it is zero withdrawal and no need to enter in medicine book , what would you put under quantity used  ( 2 sqooshes )  ;D

YorkshireLass

  • Joined Mar 2010
Re: Limping sheep - new keeper!
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2019, 05:42:54 pm »
Use the Cyclo spray ,it is zero withdrawal and no need to enter in medicine book , what would you put under quantity used  ( 2 sqooshes )  ;D


"Area dosed - one foot, two thumbs, the dog's ear, left welly boot"


 :innocent:

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Limping sheep - new keeper!
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2019, 06:36:08 pm »
Obviously it's pretty irrelevant which sprays you have if you can't catch the sheep. :innocent:  And a Welsh Badger Face that doesn't want to be caught and won't come for food is not an ideal one to start with.
I have one of them. (Yes only one now fortunately). Her mother was called  Houdini and I called the daughter Princess - hoping it would instil some grace and a nice attitude. :eyelashes: . It didn't. When Princess had been limping for 2 weeks, earlier this year, I eventually lured her into a pen in order to examine her foot. With a flying leap she demolished the pen and escaped. She is very intelligent as most semi feral sheep are (ie WBF) and hell would have to freeze over before she would go near the pen again. She runs rings round my now ageing dog and treats him with derision. (My other sheep fortunately still have some modicom of respect) So next time I managed to lure her, with other unsuspecting sheep, into a secure 6ft high pen used for my poultry, I tied her up and eventually got to look at her foot. It was just a bit tender (not foot rot) and I dipped it in a tin of copper sulphate and a suspension of lime, which has solved the problem. However, if you have no secure penning facilities, or a good dog, and your limping sheep is a complete cow in all but size, your best bet is to put a pile of lime somewhere where the sheep
congregate, such as near a water trough, food station or gateway. These probably don't apply when you have plenty of grass, so I would get a mineral bucket, which you'll find they do use, and put the lime so they have to stand in it in order to get to the bucket. The lime will dry up any infection in a few days. It was told to me by an old farmer in his 80s who very rarely had to do anything to his sheep's feet and you never saw them limping. You can just get a couple of bags of garden lime if you don't know a farmer with a pile of it.   
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

pharnorth

  • Joined Nov 2013
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: Limping sheep - new keeper!
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2019, 11:32:37 am »
Great tip @landroverroy

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Limping sheep - new keeper!
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2019, 08:05:40 pm »
Well haven’t seen any limping since my initial post, so no need to try and get hold of her again (thank goodness)!
Interesting and a relief to hear your story Landroverroy. It makes me feel less alone!! When I was trying to get hold of her we managed to drive three or four of them up into a slim rectangular area. Needless to say they soon came barreling back out, one happily throwing itself into stock fence and barbed wire. I now know to stand well out the way (even if the OH is shouting “grab her, then!”) They may be small but I’m not getting in the way of that!
I think when I was picking a breed every breed site said the same thing - hardy, good Mums, lambs that get up and go, and easy to handle. Chose the Badgers as they are on the smaller side and thought that would suit me being smaller myself. But they’re like Springboks! We do have the one sweet soul that is humouring us - I keep telling her to get her sisters on board! Lucky they are super-cute...
Funny you should mention the lime. Have created our own nightmare which we’re seriously regretting. Looking to counteract a moss issue we scattered cubicle lime on areas in a couple of fields. This is after the guy in the farm co-op said it’s the same stuff as you use in the garden and a bit cheaper. I told him it was fields, but can’t hold it against him as didn’t specify it was grazing. Needless to say we have now realised it was a huge mistake and are now spending time raking up the offending moss and the now solidified lime. We tried to tape off an affected area in the field we moved the sheep to today but they obviously walked straight through it. We tried watering it down but it’s not going anywhere so will continue raking it out over the next few days. Definitely a costly mistake regards time :( Sadly
I spent most of today raking it out of the neighbouring field, not realising the OH had decided to move them to the middle one. Never mind though as luckily I have plenty of time for raking and hopefully that should cure the problem.
Thanks to Shep53 for the confirmation on the Cyclo spray. I will use it as needed as still in date. Being new I’m all about following rules!
And yes, the vet is both small animal and farm so okay there. Should I tell them I have sheep now?? It just contact them if I have an issue?
Also, spookily enough, I have a hen called Houdini. No doubt for the same reason!

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Limping sheep - new keeper!
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2019, 10:17:38 pm »
I wouldn't worry too much now about your cubicle lime. By now it will have been neutralised by the carbon dioxide in the air to form normal calcium carbonate. (Remember your school science - Ca(OH)2 + CO2 = Ca CO3(lime) +H2O(water) ) This will help eradicate your moss, and keep your sheeps feet right.
I wouldn't bother mentioning your sheep enterprise to the vet, unless in passing. Just wait till you need him. Which hopefully won't be for a while, if ever, as WBF are extremely hardy and self sufficient.

Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Limping sheep - new keeper!
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2019, 07:38:17 am »
Really? It’s hydrated lime. So that would be the same? It just turns to chalk? We put it on a good three plus weeks ago now and it just sat on top of the moss and solidified with precipitation. Was worried the sheep would ingest these lumps and it would make them ill.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Limping sheep - new keeper!
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2019, 10:28:04 am »
I wouldn't bother mentioning your sheep enterprise to the vet, unless in passing. Just wait till you need him. Which hopefully won't be for a while, if ever, as WBF are extremely hardy and self sufficient.

I’d give the opposite advice, for the following reasons.

  • Vets often do newsletters for their farming clients, full of great advice and local awareness
  • Vets are not allowed to prescribe certain drugs unless they have seen your livestock within the previous twelve months. So rather than wait until it’s an emergency and you have to pay a regular call out fee then, let them know you have sheep now and ask if they offer a reduced price ‘drop in’ when they are passing somewhen.  You can always decline if you aren’t happy with their best offer - but some vets will do a drop in for a tenner, and you never don’t get a tenner’s worth of advice ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

 

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