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Author Topic: Blue tongue vaccine, and a lambing question, from a first timer  (Read 9693 times)

pikilily

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Do what you enjoy; And enjoy what you do!!
Hi All,
Last Friday I vaccinated my five ewes (Worn, Torn, Chip, Pin, and Tuppence) for Blue-Tongue...as is mandatory in Scotland. Heres the rub. A bit of a complicated story -sorry!

All are pregnant, first lambs due on 23rd to 'Pin'. 'Worn' (as in one-horn) is not due until 8th April, but started really bagging up last week...she is huge. Really looks as if she should be popping any minute. 

All ewes were fine on Sunday morning before I went out all eating as normal...greedy and enthusiastically . I had separated out Worn and Torn (two-horn) to try to give them larger rations over next few weeks...they were a bit put out by this

By the time I got home at 7.30pm Worn was down, she couldn't move, her back legs were just not working. Suspecting twin lamb toxemia, I sent OH to shop to get some lucosade, my daughter meantime made a solution of warm water and golden syrup, I drenched her with that whilst waiting to get hold of vet. Later having gone to vet surgery I was able to give her a shot of calcium/magnesium and some preparatory glucose/electrolytes. After a long haul overnight she was back on her feet.   My local expert 'Jock', popped in yesterday,  reckons she is having triplets or even quads. He also says that she really needs to lamb a soon as possible..the lambs are putting pressure on her spine, she is not comfy!!

Even though Worn was on her feet and grazing, she still is not eating her pellets...in fact they all seem to be less than interested. Today Tuppence, (due 3rd April) who is the fattest greediest sheep known to pastured society, did not come running for her feed today.  In fact she looked so flat this morning i have given her a sucrose drench...BTW she is looking very heavily lambed too,..set of another twin/triplets predicted by Jock.

Questions...what am I doing wrong!!!!
1. Could the Blue-tongue vax have anything to do with this. or could it be because I separated the flock out for different feeding regimes.
2. How do you keep drenching the ewes, with out stressing them by chasing, if they are sparkly enough to run away...
3. Is there anything else i could be doing to help them get through the next few weeks.
4. How early will ewes with multiples give birth..ie is it like humans who will produce early for twins and even earlier for triplets.
5. Jock says not to increase the feed too much because it could make the lambs too big. But how do i then keep the ewes energy up?

Sorry for the long ramble..I just need some advice.
Emma-on-a-fast-learning-curve. :sheep:
If you don't have a dream; how you gonna have a dream come true?

farmerswag

  • Joined Oct 2008
  • Aberdeen Shire
Re: Blue tongue vaccine, and a lambing question, from a first timer
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2009, 12:03:10 pm »
Questions...what am I doing wrong!!!!
1. Could the Blue-tongue vax have anything to do with this. or could it be because I separated the flock out for different feeding regimes.
I know that there was concerns that the BTV hadn't been properly tested on in lamb ewes so I am leaving it until as many of mine have lambed as possible

2. How do you keep drenching the ewes, with out stressing them by chasing, if they are sparkly enough to run away...
Keep them inside or run very fast

3. Is there anything else i could be doing to help them get through the next few weeks.
If you have sheep that are not moving about then I would bring them inside if poss.  We had 2 that we kept in for about 3 weeks until they popped, they both had triplets.  They were just so big they couldn't move about easily, after they lambed they were back to full health, now running about the field after their lambs

4. How early will ewes with multiples give birth..ie is it like humans who will produce early for twins and even earlier for triplets.
Twins are normal for ewes, they should just go for the standard 145 days, trips might be slightly less. Out of the 10 that have lambed so far 3 sets were trips, the rest twins and one single

5. Jock says not to increase the feed too much because it could make the lambs too big. But how do i then keep the ewes energy up?
In the last month nearly everything the ewe eats will go onto the lamb so don't over feed.  We feed 45kg of sugar beets and 18% cake mixed to our 38 ewes, the ones that have lambed trips get more to allow them to provide enough milk for 3.

If you are expecting triplets they the chances of you having to get 'in' there and lamb them are very high as there isn't enough room for all the lambs to be properly presented, usually at least one will be backwards. We had 2 lambs coming out at the same time in one set.  If you have triplets you need to make sure the ewe has enough milk and all the lambs are getting a suck.  I always keep my trips in for 4 or 5 days to make sure they are thriving, they get out during the day if the weather is good.  Our first 2 sets jsut got out full time yesterday, born tues and wed last week.

How big (fat!!) were the ewes when they went to the tup? What breed are they? Wil try and post a pic of one of our pregnant ewes carrying twins for comparison


Chasing sheep - keeps you young

farmerswag

  • Joined Oct 2008
  • Aberdeen Shire
Re: Blue tongue vaccine, and a lambing question, from a first timer
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2009, 12:06:44 pm »
Ewe carrying twins, due anytime now
Chasing sheep - keeps you young

pikilily

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Do what you enjoy; And enjoy what you do!!
Re: Blue tongue vaccine, and a lambing question, from a first timer
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2009, 01:07:13 pm »
Hello, Farmerswag,

Boy am i learning fast. I know that lamb disease is a mismanagement of the feeding....blushing with shame!

The Four ewes (Worn,Torn Chip and Pin) I bought in, in Sept, via 'Jock' are Swaledale x Shetlands and were in good condition. Just the right condition according to Jock. Three of them are one crop and one is a two crop. Two are in good nick at the mo 2-2.5 grade. One is a little lower, and Worn the one that went down is even lower. (she BTW is grazing and moving about happily this afternoon)

Tuppence the other ewe i got as a pressie from a friend...she is a Texel cross. She was pretty fat when she came here but lost a little before the tup was put in. She looks bigger than she is, I think because she was a Feb 2008 born lamb and has a very thick 8 inch long unbroken fleece. But grading her by feel  she is 2-3 now. (she is the one who i am a little concerned about today, a bit quiet and not knocking me over for the feed.) Her sides are out like a flat table...oh and this is her first lambing

The tup was a pure Beltex.

Looking at your photo there is more lamb in my ewes!!!
Maybe i should get them back into the smaller field and get Worn back in the pen...she just seems a lot happier outside!
thanks for the comments.
Emma
If you don't have a dream; how you gonna have a dream come true?

farmerswag

  • Joined Oct 2008
  • Aberdeen Shire
Re: Blue tongue vaccine, and a lambing question, from a first timer
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2009, 01:44:08 pm »
Don't feel bad about twin lamb disease, we lost one to it this year and to drench another one for a few days.  Our vet said there was a lot of it this year due to the really bad weather, thankfully since lambing started its been quite sunny with us.

When they lie down do they stay in a normal shape or do they kind of spill out along the ground? Our ones that carried trips prob measures about 20 inches across when they lay down.

Mine also prefer to be out and its much less work but sometimes keeping them in is the best thing
As for the texel X I would expect some monster lambs if she was put to a Beltex as Texels have a big frame and front while Beltex have a huge a**e!! She might just be carrying big lambs rather than 3 or may be totally wrong.

You are obviously looking after them well and that is the most important thing, this is the first time I have had my own flock, bought in lamb ewes before and spent a few years lambing when I was younger. I have had some diasters, escaped tup, maggots (yuk yuk yuk),  one dropped dead during shearing, its a v steep learning curve and I am very much still on it.

Where is Scotland are you from? I am in very sunny Aberdeen shire
« Last Edit: March 18, 2009, 01:49:09 pm by farmerswag »
Chasing sheep - keeps you young

pikilily

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Do what you enjoy; And enjoy what you do!!
Re: Blue tongue vaccine, and a lambing question, from a first timer
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2009, 06:40:15 pm »
Hi, I am near Glamis.
..but regularly go up to Aberdeenshire. My Mum and sister live in Potterton. I noticed you are from Aberdeenshire and that you are into horses, too. I wonder if you are a kent face. My sister is Sophie Mcken, she is in Findon RC and also events...though she has a broken leg at the mo.

As for the sheep....yup there is plenty of spilling across the ground when Worn and Tuppence lie down....Tuppence goes to about 36 inches wide...mind she isnt due till 3rd April. Worn widens to 28 inches....my neighbours eyes widened to 10 inches when they saw me measuring the sheep with my sewing tape!!!!!

they think i am mad anyway
Emma T
« Last Edit: March 18, 2009, 06:43:31 pm by pikilily »
If you don't have a dream; how you gonna have a dream come true?

farmerswag

  • Joined Oct 2008
  • Aberdeen Shire
Re: Blue tongue vaccine, and a lambing question, from a first timer
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2009, 09:55:27 pm »
yea I know of Sophie  I am in Findon but more into showing than eventing. If the sheeps are kind of spilling out when lying down them maybe triplets, had meant to say 30 inches in my last post. 

Just keep an eye on them and be prepared to need to get in and help them, esp the Texel X, that will be HUGE!!
Chasing sheep - keeps you young

pikilily

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Do what you enjoy; And enjoy what you do!!
Re: Blue tongue vaccine, and a lambing question, from a first timer
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2009, 07:47:36 am »
Hahaha!!  LOL

I checked Tuppence when she was standing up, shes about 30 odd inches across on her feet!!! mind you that is a lot of wool too. Everything waddles and rolls when she walks. We could start a sweepy on how big her lambs are!!! or how many!

Will try to get some photos today. They are all eating today so what ever it was, seems to have passed for the time being. Will keep a close eye though cos I suppose if I possibly have another two to three weeks to go before they all have lambed there is every chance that toxemia rears its ugly head again.

Nails chewed to quick....and lacking in sleep already!!!
Emma
If you don't have a dream; how you gonna have a dream come true?

Pigtails

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Scotland
    • 29brawl
Re: Blue tongue vaccine, and a lambing question, from a first timer
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2009, 08:11:27 pm »
The bluetongue vaccine, by all accounts is adversely affecting both the sheep and the cattle,
although we haven't yet vaccinated (simply because of lambing) we are hearing other farmers
tell of their animals, being poorly afterwards.

I / we will be vaccinating after they've lambed and their lambs will be done at three months old, but I, like so many other
farmers in our area are totally against this vaccine, we believe it unneccessary, in the extreme north of Scotland.

Or / because we have a very different "midge" up here, there should be a different strain of vaccine, what do other members
think?

Pigtails

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Blue tongue vaccine, and a lambing question, from a first timer
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2009, 08:56:09 pm »
I've done mine and they're fine (as far as I can tell and there are only three, so hardly statistically significant).

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Blue tongue vaccine, and a lambing question, from a first timer
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2009, 09:02:10 pm »
vaccinated all of mine last year without any ill effects and will be vaccinating mine in about a months time. It suits me better to do it later;

Ravelry Group: - Ouessants & Company

pikilily

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Do what you enjoy; And enjoy what you do!!
Re: Blue tongue vaccine, and a lambing question, from a first timer
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2009, 09:08:15 pm »
On reflection I think it was the vaccine which sent my ewe, Torn, over the edge into a form of twin lamb disease.

She has recovered and has shown no further indications of twin lamb ( now two weeks further down the road) she is due to lamb at the end of the week. she still has the most enormous udders i have ever seen.

In fact the rest of the flock (five ewes) went a bit off over the week following the vaccination. Each ewe went off her food and looked a bit lackluster and then recovered. they are all fine now..

Emma BTW Tuppence had twins today a boy and a girl. but Ill post about that in another topic.
If you don't have a dream; how you gonna have a dream come true?

BadgerFace

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Sussex
Re: Blue tongue vaccine, and a lambing question, from a first timer
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2009, 09:15:34 pm »
I vaccinated 49 of my own sheep last May with the first batch that was released. None showed any adverse affects. A friend, a contract shepherd vaccinated 3000 plus sheep (also from the same batch), one was found dead the following day - but that could have shock, just as you get sometimes after handling.

I do think it's a risk using an untried vaccine, but given the terrible nature of the virus felt it was worth it - time will tell ???

I would not risk using the vaccine (or any other) on in lambs ewes - not just because of the vaccine, but also due to the extra handling involved.

 
Breeder of Pedigree Torddu Badger Face Welsh Mountain Sheep & Anglo Nubian Goats

pikilily

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Do what you enjoy; And enjoy what you do!!
Re: Blue tongue vaccine, and a lambing question, from a first timer
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2009, 09:27:37 pm »
Yes Badgerface ..as a preference i would avoid vax preg ewes, too, the next time.

The vaccine was offered to me as a piggyback to other flock holder's programme. So it was take it there and then, or do it yourself later. With only five sheep it seemed sensible to share the prescription with others in my area. Maybe next time i will think about it. its a steep learning curve.

Of course the proof for me will be whether 'Worn' delivers live lambs. she was the worst affected by what ever hit the flock.
Emma
« Last Edit: March 31, 2009, 11:49:08 am by pikilily »
If you don't have a dream; how you gonna have a dream come true?

BadgerFace

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Sussex
Re: Blue tongue vaccine, and a lambing question, from a first timer
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2009, 09:34:47 pm »
I know it's a big problem the vaccine is only available in 20 or 50 dose bottles, and leave small flock holders little choice. Some of my neighbours shared a bottle last year, but apparently that's not allowed !!
Breeder of Pedigree Torddu Badger Face Welsh Mountain Sheep & Anglo Nubian Goats

 

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