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Author Topic: Shetlands acting strange???/  (Read 273 times)

Jon Feather

  • Joined Jun 2015
  • South West Cumbria
Shetlands acting strange???/
« on: May 23, 2019, 03:34:42 pm »
I'm something of a novice at this but I haven't seen this before.

They are usually really placid and friendly: to me and each other.
Today they are acting like something has spooked them (I'm sure nothing has). 
Eyes wide, running about, can't settle.
Some are standing with their heads down, almost noses on the ground, head shake every now and then, skin twitching, foot stamping like there is something there (which there isn't).  It's like there is an invisible swarm of flies bothering them but there is nothing there.
They are also irritable with each other: headbutting others out of the way.

If penned a few and had a look for fly maggots and in their mouths but I can't see anything.
Some have rued and some waiting for the shearer. It's affecting both.  :-[

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance.
Voss Electric Fence

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Shetlands acting strange???/
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2019, 04:00:27 pm »
Those are classic symptoms of fly strike, which you have already investigated.  I suspect that it's midgies, if you have them in your area - almost invisible but vicious.  They do no harm to the sheep but drive them distracted.  Is that a possibility?  There are loads around here, outside the area of Scotland which normally gets the wee devils.  If it is, a fly repellant such as bog myrtle would help, or some of the stuff horse owners use to keep the flies away - citronella or similar.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Jon Feather

  • Joined Jun 2015
  • South West Cumbria
Re: Shetlands acting strange???/
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2019, 04:05:28 pm »
Thanks for the the suggestion of Midgies.  Ill have another look.
Re fly strike: I'd see the maggots in the fleece above the tail wouldn't I?

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Shetlands acting strange???/
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2019, 04:23:34 pm »
Sheep will react before the flies have even laid their eggs, but you would see the greenbottles flying around them.  You would see fly eggs or developing maggots anywhere on the body, including between the cleats of the hoof.  Typical places are, yes, around the tail root, but also under the tail, especially if daggy, up under the crutch region (best to upend the sheep to get a proper look), behind the front legs, over the shoulder, around the horns, on the belly where they may have lain in muck, around the male sheath, in fact just about anywhere on the sheep.  Shetlands can be particularly hard to search as they have such fine fleece, so you need to go over the whole animal, or just shear them - maggots can move like the clappers and will disappear into the fleece before you can get them.  Another way to identify that maggots are present is by smell (once smelt, never forgotten), by damp patches in the fleece when the maggots are large, and most disgusting of all, when there are lots of maggots, you can HEAR them  :yuck:
Midgies  might show up as little red dots on the hairless places such as ears.  They are worst in the evenings, and you would be bothered too.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 04:26:41 pm by Fleecewife »
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Shetlands acting strange???/
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2019, 04:34:10 pm »
If not flystrike, could it be magnesium deficiency i.e staggers. This can cause eratic behavior. Although it does sound like classic flystrike symptoms

Jon Feather

  • Joined Jun 2015
  • South West Cumbria
Re: Shetlands acting strange???/
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2019, 05:03:40 pm »
A shepherd neighbour is coming over later to catch one of his lambs from in our field.  I'll ask his advice too.
Meanwhile, I'll have another wrestle with a couple of them.  I like to look and learn if I can rather than just relying on Ben  :farmer: the neighbour.   


harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Shetlands acting strange???/
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2019, 06:30:18 pm »
It sounds like you have several acting like that so it would be a bad case of strike. The other thing that comes to mind is lice.

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Shetlands acting strange???/
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2019, 08:06:55 pm »
It sounds to me like the flies are bothering them, nice warm still day and the flies and midges are biting. It doesn't sound like strike to me, if it was you'd see them trying to reach around and scratch themselves, or if white sheep you can see some staining to the fleece.


Have you shorn yet? If not I'd do asap, if already shorn maybe time to treat them with crovect or similar.

RCTman

  • Joined Mar 2017
  • Rhondda fach
Re: Shetlands acting strange???/
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2019, 10:38:57 pm »
As Fleecewife says, typical case of midges seen this many a time, they annoy me the same.

 

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