NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Problem ewe  (Read 5559 times)

ladyK

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Conwy Valley
Problem ewe
« on: June 19, 2014, 03:28:34 pm »
I think I have a 'problem ewe' (Soay) - I don't think she is ill as such but something is not right.
She is the flightiest one in the flock, and has always been the very bottom of the pecking order - she gets pushed around by everybody (she usually gets out of the way before even being pushed).
She had twin ram lambs 2 weeks ago. She is very protective of them, but I'm not sure she has very much milk: I see them suckle very often and what seems like quite some time. They don't seem to have grown as much as my earlier lambs in 2 weeks, though they seem otherwise fine, and are not complaining. (Not sure I'm interpeting this correctly).
It worries me that she seems to be loosing weight, even though she has as much cake as she wants twice a day (she will only eat a few handful). She also has a lick bucket.
I moved the flock to better grass 2 days ago (I move them with a bucket down the lane). She has done that before but this time she refused to leave the 'home' field - maybe it was too early for her and she felt she didn't want to take risks with the lambs? She is now alone on the field with her lambs, not sure if this is a problem as she has the lambs for company (and noone to push her off the feed bucket) but I'm sure she would feel more secure in the company of the flock (unlikely she will follow the bucket on her own, for one).
She got flystruck soon after the birth, it's now just over a week since I cleaned and treated her and the skin seems to have healed really well. A set back I'm sure, but I don't think this is an ongoing issue.

So nothing seems to be going quite right for her, poor girl... Not sure what else I can do for her? More cake? Catch and pen her up to monitor more closely? Or is this a case for the vet?

As every grateful for any advice.
"If one way is better than another, it is the way of nature." (Aristotle)
Voss Electric Fence

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Problem ewe
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2014, 04:38:58 pm »
First port of call is is her worming and fluke treatment up to date? If you're feeding her cake but she's losing weight I would worm/fluke her if not done already

ladyK

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Conwy Valley
Re: Problem ewe
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2014, 05:56:24 pm »
She is due a fluking dose, but have been putting that off because of the flystrike. I got it all here so will get this into her asap.
Also looked up a few more posts here (was searching the wrong terms before) and I think she could have milk fever/hypoclacemia? While she is not 'down' she is certainly spending more time under the hedge that I would think is 'normal', even in the mornings when it's not hot yet.
So I just went out and got some Calcinject - I understand it can do no harm even if it's not milk fever. Just have to work out how to do the injection correctly. I have seen instructions on how to to do it in a different post and I'm not squeamish but I haven't injected anything before. I've seen the vet do it on dogs/cats but not sure about subcutaneous administration. Is that when you make a tent with the skin to put the needle in?
Of course I have to chatch her again before I can do anything...

EDIT to say that I searched some more, and got the instructions I need for injecting. TAS is a treasure trove!

« Last Edit: June 19, 2014, 06:22:51 pm by ladyK »
"If one way is better than another, it is the way of nature." (Aristotle)

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Problem ewe
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2014, 06:00:07 pm »
If you can't catch her she doesn't need it and chances are tbh she doesn't need it anyway. I think you would benefit from a vet or farmer friend coming over and actually seeing the sheep and the general situation there for better advice than can be given over the internet.

ladyK

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Conwy Valley
Re: Problem ewe
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2014, 06:27:24 pm »
I will call the vet tomorrow anyway, but it seemed from what I read that hypocalcemia was a bit of an urgent case, and Calciject would not harm. But maybe it is only urgent when the sheep is actually down?
In that case I would get the vet on an urgent call out without a second thought, but as I explained she just doesn't seem right rather than seriously ill (at the moment).The most worrying thing is how much weight she has lost in the last week. She looks virtually hollow between her ribs and her back end.
"If one way is better than another, it is the way of nature." (Aristotle)

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Problem ewe
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2014, 07:00:24 pm »
I can't help with any real advice but in our limited experience of lambing Soay, our ewes didn't appear to visibly lose weight. We did offer small amounts of mix and although they came to the trough usually only had a nibble and were gone leaving food there. Our grass wasn't that lush but none seemed to lose weight.

Some did 'keep out of the way' for longer than others though. One of our quieter ewes took several weeks before she mixed much.

Sorry .... only observations really.

novicesmallholder

  • Joined Oct 2009
  • Worcestershire
Re: Problem ewe
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2014, 07:17:33 pm »
We  had a ewe who had twins and was looking thin, her babies were snatching milk of other mums. We fluked and this sorted it.I would definitely fluke the mum.

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Problem ewe
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2014, 07:41:38 pm »
She's been lambed a while hasn't she so the chances of it being hypocalcaemia are very low. Never say never but, low. It is a random choice diagnosis, she could as easily be in the hedge ill for mastitis with twins chewing on an empty udder when she was struck, septicaemia after the maggot invasion or what have you. Why not ask someone to have a look? Preferably the vet but a farmer or sheepy mate would probably do. 

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Problem ewe
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2014, 09:10:31 pm »
Having seen a cow with milk fever it is very urgent and they really are on deaths door so I highly doubt it's that if she's up and about. I would fluke and consult vet though if no better after that. Have you felt her udder, has she got mastitis?

ladyK

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Conwy Valley
Re: Problem ewe
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2014, 10:40:45 pm »
When I went out to see her / catch her she was still in the hedge, lambs trying to nurse with her lying down.
She didn't move away when I came close, then she didn't even try to move when I got hold of her, so that was definitely a huge deterioration since lunch time, so put her in the shed and called the vet out.
Her udder is fine, milk looks OK but not very plentiful, but she's got a temperature and is obviously thin and weak (still standing up occasionaly and eating though). No specific diagnosis but vet thinks the fly strike generally made a mess of her immunity and metabolism. She got shots of calcium, ABs and antinflammatories (and I was shown how to do them).
She inside now with cake, hay, fresh cut grass and various bits I know she likes (willow, hazel, ivy, comfrey). Will get some supplement milk for the lambs too.
Hope she feels better tomorrow.  :fc:
"If one way is better than another, it is the way of nature." (Aristotle)

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Problem ewe
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2014, 10:48:40 pm »
Hypocalcaemia can be brought on by stress as much as anything else, even later in the lactation, if they are feeding twins or triplets.

Pedwardine

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Lincolnshire
Re: Problem ewe
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2014, 12:56:48 am »
Can you supplement the lambs if they're suffering the knock on effect of her ill health? Forgive my suggestion if you've already done it, but perhaps a gut stimulus like pro-rumen may help or some kind of a tonic just to give her a boost plus some special tidbits she likes. Sounds like most anything is worth a shot  :fc:

ladyK

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Conwy Valley
Re: Problem ewe
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2014, 11:12:58 pm »
She looked just as depressed this morning after all the vet shots. Gave her 50ml electrolyte solution with a bit of yoghurt (home made pro-rumen?) and her appetite picked up a bit in the afternoon so I'm hopeful she may be getting better.
And yes, it did occur to me too that I should supplement the lambs at this point.  Tried them on 2 bottle sessions today. Maybe they need more time to get used to the bottle at 2 weeks old... While obviously hungry (ewe will ony get up if I enter the pen, lambs go straight to the udder as soon as she gets up) they weren't impressed by the bottle. First attempt I got about 100ml between them into them (really having to shove the bottle teat into them), second attempt was more like 200ml (between them again, so not much?) - some improvement at least. As soon as I let them go they go straight for the udder again, so obviously not satisfied. I realise I have to give them more feeding sessions - will try 4 sessions tomorrow. Or more? The packet says the max intake is up 1.5 litres at this age, but they have mum too, so not sure what I'm aiming for.
I'm doing this for the very first time, so not sure I'm doing it right either... for example, how big should the hole on the teat be? It all a rather steep learning curve...
"If one way is better than another, it is the way of nature." (Aristotle)

SheepCrazy!

  • Joined Nov 2012
  • Dumfries and Galloway
  • www.hawthornsoaysandjacobs.co.uk
    • hawthornsoaysandjacobs
    • Facebook
Re: Problem ewe
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2014, 11:26:48 pm »

Poor wee Soay I hope she starts to improve my only advice would be a vitamin dose, the vet will have an injectable version or I use the country life dose at tupping, pre lambing and for anything poorly,  and like you say pro biotic yogurt is good for tummy upsets. The soay lambs will once they figure it out, start sucking feverishly on the bottle, no doubt, Good luck :fc:, a picture may help us too

Oh and an FEC, I had a friend who had very lean soays and had wormed them for everything, an FEC identified, small red worm that they had caught from the horse they shared a field with, a cydectin dose cleared them straight up, turns out the whole flock was anemic,
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 11:30:20 pm by SheepCrazy! »

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Problem ewe
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2014, 11:36:17 pm »
dot forget the size of soay lambs compared to the norm they won't be taking all it says on the packet.
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