Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: First Dead sheep...  (Read 12194 times)


  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Pen Llyn
    • Viable Self
Re: First Dead sheep...
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2012, 09:08:27 pm »
If pasteurella was the cause, just make sure you vaccinate everything with Heptava - P plus (including your lambs as soon as they are old enough and then the chances of loosing sheep to this in the future are slim.

We used to loose a few lambs to uncertain causes, but since we started vaccinating ALL the lambs instead of just the ones kept for breeding, the losses diappeared. It can make a big difference to general flock health.

Having said that, you will occasionally get one succumb even though it is vaccinated - we purchased a very expensive tup a few years back and lost him to pastuerella a few months later despite having given him a full course
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  • Joined Sep 2009
  • England
Re: First Dead sheep...
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2012, 11:15:23 pm »

a healthy adult sheep in reasonable weather conditons shouldn't really be succumbing to pasteurella.

Sorry, got to disagree with that bit, I got a very healthy Ryeland ram, moved him with ewes he knew to my fields and he went down with pasteurella, saved him ok, vet said it was stress. Same thing happened when I got two more ewes, one went down with it after being moved.
Sheep like to die and make liars of us it seems.
PS he'd been Heptavac'd by lady I bought him off don't know if it was Heptavac P though
« Last Edit: February 19, 2012, 11:18:48 pm by moleskins »
Time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like a banana.


  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
Re: First Dead sheep...
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2012, 12:59:59 am »
Its a real roller-coaster owning these bleedin sheep in't it!?

I would tell you not to worry - but worry we all do and its the worry that makes us keep on the ball and looking after the rest of em.  The death of an animal is very hard to deal with - I dont think it ever gets any easier, I always shed a spark of a tear whenever something dies in my arms or I find it stiff in a field, legs out.  You always blame yourself, well I do.

One of the problems with caring for animals is that there is so much conflicting advice, even from professionals, but thats the same in any industry you look at.

My guess is that most people find out whats 'right' for theirs through experience, experience also gives you a better standpoint to judge other peoples opinions and experience. 

You sound like your doing a fab job looking after them, sorry to hear you lost one too and I hope they all get better and have a good old life munching the goodies you give them.



  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: First Dead sheep...
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2012, 07:20:16 am »
The clostridial vaccines and the pasteurella vaccines are dead organisms plus modified toxins so will not be affected by antibiotics.

This would be the case for the vast majority of vaccines, which are usually dead organisms, modified ones that can't multiply or toxins. Just occasionally a live organism is used - Scabivax against orf for example but that's a virus so also wouldn't be affected by antibiotics. Can't think of a live, bacterial vaccine offhand but no doubt there is one somewhere - that could be affected by antibiotics.

The reasons for not vaccinating an ill animal are 1. You want its immune system to get it better not be distracted by responding to extra microbes and 2. The response to the vaccine is likely to be poor and therefore a waste of time.


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: First Dead sheep...
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2012, 09:43:31 am »
All of which just goes to show that none of us get it all right all of the time!   :-[  We can all only do our best with what we know and can find out at the time.  Thank goodness for this community on TAS, where we can pool our knowledge and experience.
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


  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Bala, North Wales
    • Facebook
Re: First Dead sheep...
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2012, 10:22:47 am »
Thanks as ever for all the moral and practical support

JayKay, that makes absolute sense - Sooo - if you were faced with my situation again, would you asume they were all incubating pasteurella and give antibiotic (holding off the heptvac for a week or so), Or administer the vaccine and hold of the antibiotic untill further signs of illness presented?  My biggest surprise was that I didnt/couldnt detect any signs of illness in the 24 hours before.  When I got them in to treat (no dog, only the lure of feeding them in my makeshift pen in the 'pollytunnel' - so relieved THAT worked!) a couple were very skiny - but I would not have guessed that from visual inspection.  How often do people get the sheep in to have a feel - I dont want to handle too much, but now think I have been too hands off.  I also need to get my head around the 'condition score' that I have seen people talk about but cant see to find info on how to do...  Loving the learning!


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: First Dead sheep...
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2012, 10:57:34 am »
If you have only got a small flock that are being called-in to feed rather than the dog they will let you quickly put your hand on their backs while the head is in the feed trough after a while, just do it regulalrly.... mine do and I am surprised at the ones that are on good condition and the ones that seem to be a bit skinny - it is not the usual suspects this year....


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: First Dead sheep...
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2012, 11:17:59 am »
I do what Anke does, get my hands on their backs while they're feeding. I usually only manage one or two before they start skipping about, so I target different ones each time.

Sally, none of us get it right all the time , that's what's great about this forum, we're always learning from each other :-*

FiB, generally I take the advice of my vet, especially for animals that they know plenty about like sheep. I'd have gone with the antibiotics too, since you've already lost one with confirmed pasteurella. And Heptavac P asap after you're sure none are ill.


  • Joined Jun 2011
    • Fronhaul Farm
Re: First Dead sheep...
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2012, 11:40:46 am »
There are a number of guides to condition scoring on the net.  One is at .

It is to some extent subjective and the condition you are looking for does vary somewhat from breed to breed.  I think the breeder of my Shetlands would not be happy if I aimed for a 3 from this site at this point on my ewes who are due to lamb in April.

And if it is some consolation I was very down after a bad start to lambing this year but today I laughed until I cried at the sight of one of twin Jacob lambs born on Saturday climbing all over her mother and jumping up and down on her back.  The little monsters escaped from their pen twice yesterday and on the second occasion were found treating the walkway between the pens as a racetrack much to the horror of the Shropshire mums with their peacefully sleeping offspring.  I think those two are about ready for the nursery paddock today if the rain holds off! 

Life with sheep is a real rollercoaster, especially at this time of the year but the special moments are very special.


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: First Dead sheep...
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2012, 05:10:00 pm »
Fronhaul, talk to me about what condition you k want Shetlands to be in at this point in the year. This is my first year with Shetlands - I knew what I was doing with Rough Fells but these little guys are very different  :)


  • Joined Jun 2011
    • Fronhaul Farm
Re: First Dead sheep...
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2012, 05:36:45 pm »
Hi JayKay - my first year as well with the little sheep but I have some very very specific instructions from the breeder of mine who is absolutely adamant that she doesn't want to see much in the way of condition on her ewes before they lamb.  Lots of verbal advice and I am sure she won't mind me copying this part of an email she sent me to underline the point she made:
Your Shetlands will give you even smaller lambs. We used to make the mistake of feeding too much in the way of concentrates, which made our lambs too large, they are supposed to be tiny, which of course also helps the ewe, I think that we have it about right now. Though we do probably feed too good hay, which we pride ourselves on being able to make, we donít feed any hard food until about four weeks before the first ones are due to lamb. We used to do this for six weeks before & for six weeks after & I think that they are better for having reduced it by two weeks at either end. I think that if they have all of the vitamins & minerals required in the blocks & buckets & ad lib hay, this regime seems to work. When we do begin to feed nuts & coarse mix it is not a lot, really only a titbit to begin with & not increasing it a great deal. I hope that you donít mind me saying this & you are probably well aware already of all of the above. I just thought that you may think that they need more than they do, as they can be very greedy

This is in Wiltshire and it is fair to say that there is far more "bottom" to their grass than ours so we are feeding a little more than this but being pretty cautious to keep hard feed to a minimum.  From what she explained to me I would say to my eye I would be looking for around a 2.5 condition score.  Some people may well disagree though.


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: First Dead sheep...
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2012, 05:49:34 pm »
Ok, that's interesting, thank you  :) I'm at 1000ft in Cumbria, so there's been no grass since mid-Oct. I'm feeding good hay and have been feeding cake since then too, though only a small handful each til Jan (to 'train' them) but now they're on a cupful each. I'd say they were mainly a 3, so maybe they're a bit fat but not too bad.


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