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Author Topic: Giving sheep boluses?  (Read 3717 times)

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Giving sheep boluses?
« on: January 30, 2018, 07:47:19 pm »
Hi everyone,

We have a recurring problem of certain lambs (particularly boys for some reason) going really squitty after weaning. It's not caused by worms or cocci and it goes on for months, so can't be due to fresh or wet grass.

One thing I haven't managed to rule out is cobalt / selenium deficiency, so I'm thinking of giving both our ewes and lambs boluses this year (probably 'smartrace' or similar) to see if that makes any difference.

So, before I do, can anybody tell me how to actually give a bolus?  Is it just like giving a drench, or will I need the vet to show me how, the first time around?

Also, is there anything else I should be aware of before supplementing cobalt / selenium / idodine ?

Thanks in advance folks!  :thumbsup:
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

thesuffolksmallholding

  • Joined Jan 2017
Re: Giving sheep boluses?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2018, 11:44:49 pm »
Giving a bolus can definitely make a difference and I think for sheep that look like they are struggling its a great idea. We bolus the pedigrees, but don't bother with the commercials as the hybrid vigour in them means they don't need it.
To bolus you will need to buy a gun (these are usually metal and very basic). Then you pop each individual bolus into the gun, grab a ewe and place it from the side of the mouth. make sure you place above the tongue and right down the throat otherwise they will crunch it or spit it out.
It is very simple, and worthwhile if the ewes are struggling a bit. We do it before lambing and then the lamb benefits from the bolus as well as the ewe.

Clarebelle

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • Orkney
Re: Giving sheep boluses?
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2018, 07:09:30 am »
We have a cobalt deficiency on our land here so we bolus every 6 months. As above, it is pretty simple, especially if you are used to drenching etc. You will usually still get a couple that manage to spit them out! The bolus guns are pretty cheap, nothing special. I would go will something like smart trace too. I got cobalt only when I first bought but now wish I had got an smart trace

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
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Re: Giving sheep boluses?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2018, 07:23:43 am »
smart trace?
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

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Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Giving sheep boluses?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2018, 09:59:22 am »
If you can get someone competent to show you how to do the first time then that would be beneficial, it's not always easy, depending on the size of your sheep.  Also, vets see a lot of throat injuries due to people administering boluses badly.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Giving sheep boluses?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2018, 11:52:16 am »
Smartrace by Agrimin.  I agree with Foobar about getting someone, preferably a vet, to show you how to do it.  Sticking a small metal pipe deep into the roof of a sheep's mouth, especially if the sheep is struggling (and they really don't like it) can cause severe injury.  Have you considered a mineral drench?

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Giving sheep boluses?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2018, 02:46:30 pm »
Thanks everybody,

The vet is due next month to take blood samples for MV testing, so I'll buy the stuff and ask them to show me whilst they're here.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Giving sheep boluses?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2018, 04:45:14 pm »
Mineral drenches tend not to boost levels for long. We have used the Agrimin and they seem huge, we used a little lube on the bolus. Seemed to help it go down.

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Giving sheep boluses?
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2018, 12:58:48 pm »
WOMBLE  have a look at Carrs bolus ,its fairly small  and you could buy at R & R  Balloch .  Bolusing is a lot harder than dosing , holding the sheep still is vital and not pushing , a little twisting since the gun is normally bent  and it should gently slip down

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Giving sheep boluses?
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2018, 01:28:53 pm »
Thanks Shep, there's a Carrs shop at Stirling Mart, so I'll check that out  :thumbsup: .
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Giving sheep boluses?
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2018, 07:55:11 pm »
OK, so I got the vet to show me, and then I tried it myself a few times. I was really surprised how far you have to put the gun in - it's definitely harder than drenching! Also it seems there would be more risk of injuring the sheep if it were to jump at the wrong moment.

Apparently sheep have a sort of hump / bump at  the back of their tongues. That sort of makes a 'point of no return', so if you can get the bolus over that, it gets swallowed down ok. Actually, you can really feel the gun stopping at that 'hump', and then suddenly you get it right, and over it goes!

Thanks for all your help folks!  :thumbsup:
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

 

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