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Author Topic: Sad loss of GFD  (Read 1840 times)

Blackbird

  • Joined Jul 2012
Sad loss of GFD
« on: December 11, 2017, 11:21:35 am »
Just a share really. Very sorry to have lost my remaining GFD wether - a great big, soppy cuddly boy, always lumbering up for a scratch and a fuss. Lost him to a blocked bladder, which is how his brother went a year or so ago.
I  understand that when the boys are castrated, their urethra and penis don't develop fully, so they're more prone to infections and to bladder blockages that a ram could pass easily. Once the bladder fills and can't be emptied, they are in dire straits, so had to choose the kindest thing and have him put to sleep.
Mine is just a tiny hobby flock, kept for their fleece and my own interest. Vet explained that she only sees this problem with sheep (and goats) kept as pets, as obviously in a commercial environment, the wethers would be slaughtered and not kept for years.
I have one wether left (a Hebridean/Longwool cross) and am hoping he doesn't go the same way  :'( The remaining sheep are ewes, and if I'd known about this problem I'd have just stuck with ewes.
Where are we going - and why am I in this handcart?

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Sad loss of GFD
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2017, 12:08:44 pm »
Sorry to hear about this, Blackbird  :bouquet:


Bladder blockage in male sheep is something which has been talked about quite a bit on TAS.  Wethers are most vulnerable, but it can happen to entire tups too.


Be very careful of any hard feed they get - male sheep should not be given ewe feed, as that allows the build-up of calcium, which forms into calculi (stones).  Wethers don't really need any hard feed, as they get fat - as I discovered when I had to send my pampered fleece flock off for slaughter and found them to have more fat than meat. 
I don't know what other factors can contribute to the formation of urinary calculi in sheep, but there may be some.


There are emergency ways to deal with the problem if you recognise what it is, but you have unfortunately been at the sad end of what can happen.
www.scothebs.co.uk

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

   Five Freedoms
   # Freedom from Hunger and Thirst.
   # Freedom from Discomfort.
   # Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease.
   # Freedom to Express Normal Behavior.
   # Freedom from Fear and Distress

Blackbird

  • Joined Jul 2012
Re: Sad loss of GFD
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2017, 01:52:57 pm »
Thank you FW. Yes, I first became aware of the risks around urinary calculi from TAS when I first got my sheep (TAS is such a fantastic source of knowledge and support). None of them have hard feed, even the ewes (as I don't lamb, they don't need it) except for a few grass nuts so I can get them to come to me and follow the bucket. I suspect the GFDs were particularly prone because they have such very woolly bellies - the urine doesn't  drain away easily and they can get infections on the prepuce.  I've clipped their bellies since I knew about this. "Only" a sheep I know, but still cried my eyes out holding his head while the vet put him to sleep.
Where are we going - and why am I in this handcart?

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Sad loss of GFD
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2017, 02:52:04 pm »
I think anyone who doesnít feel some sadness when they lose an animal shouldnít keep animals full stop. Sorry for your loss, it sounds like you did everything possible to prevent it too  :-[

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Sad loss of GFD
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2017, 03:31:36 pm »
So sorry to hear this, Blackbird.   :hug:

I too keep wethers as well as ewes - itís a fleece and meat flock, and thereís room for some who just give a fleece - and I wasnít aware that wethers could suffer in this way, even when not given hard feed.  So thank you for sharing, Iíve learned something.

I like my wethers. They seem to gain a gravitas as they age, a sort of Uncle of the Fiock status.  Mr Pie and I have a good relationship; he comes to say Good Morning and tell me how things are, Iím sure of it.  And I like having him looking after the youngsters when the breeding girls are with the tup.  I leave a ewe or two with them too, ones Iím not breeding (either at all or that year) but Mr Pie seems to take on the role of Head of the Flock when the senior ewes arenít there.
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Sad loss of GFD
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2017, 04:16:08 pm »
Interesting about the sticky willies Blackbird.  Was the vet sure there were calculi, or had maybe the urethra been scarred by the buildup of gunge enough to block it totally?


It's so good to have somewhere to discuss such things, and reach the largest audience - thank you @Dan for giving us TAS  :thumbsup:
www.scothebs.co.uk

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

   Five Freedoms
   # Freedom from Hunger and Thirst.
   # Freedom from Discomfort.
   # Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease.
   # Freedom to Express Normal Behavior.
   # Freedom from Fear and Distress

moprabbit

  • Joined Oct 2011
  • North Notts
Re: Sad loss of GFD
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2017, 11:37:32 pm »
So sorry to hear of your loss Blackbird.
I'm sure he [size=78%]wasn't 'only a sheep', I'm sure he was very well loved and  looked after. [/size]
4 pet sheep

Blackbird

  • Joined Jul 2012
Re: Sad loss of GFD
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2017, 10:39:45 am »
Many thanks for your kind thoughts, all. Like your Mr Pie, Sally, he always came up to say good morning and have a scratch and a fuss. And he enjoyed 5 years biffing about that he wouldn't have had otherwise.

FW - there was no definitive diagnosis of calculi - the vet's portable scanner revealed the bladder was full and blocked, but not the cause, so there could have been a build up of scar tissue where there had been an infection in the past.

 I check underneath my Hebridean/Longwool cross wether regularly (to which he takes great exception, being a very large sheep with opinions about things!) So far, never any sign of infection, but he is much less woolly underneath and always seems to be peeing freely. (we do have fascinating conversations on TAS don't we?)
Where are we going - and why am I in this handcart?

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Sad loss of GFD
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2017, 12:16:34 pm »
so sorry to hear this :( Sending big hugs :hug: :hug: :hug:
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

sabrina

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Sad loss of GFD
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2017, 02:18:22 pm »
Losing any animal through iilness is heart breaking. Something we all have to cope with at some point. Never gets easy though  :hug:

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Sad loss of GFD
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2017, 03:01:22 pm »
We run our flock on commercial lines but if I ever don't stop and feel sad when a sheep has to be put down I'll throw in the towel. 

 

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