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Author Topic: Older sheep care  (Read 659 times)


  • Joined Jan 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Older sheep care
« on: October 25, 2020, 09:39:22 pm »
my ewes are about 6.5 years old now and when I was giving them some ewe rolls (just a handful each day to keep them interested in a bucket rattling), I noticed one of them had lost two of her front teeth.
They are in lowland Aberdeenshire, on good grass, have a lick, feet in great condition (since I stopped interfering with them too regularly) and they get a few rolls at the moment for friendliness and in anticipation of the tup in a couple of weeks time so are in good condition without being rolly-polly, but it made me think should I start doing something different for them now they are getting older?
They are Black Welsh Mountains, Iíve had them for about 5.5 years and they have lambed each year to a Texel without too many problems.
Iím sure Iíve read in the past about pulling out remaining teeth when they get broken-mouthed, but as they are in good condition otherwise that would seem an extreme task to undertake now.
Is there anything that you would suggest, or is it a case of watching their condition and giving them hay/rolls/licks etc if they start to get skinny?
Your thoughts are appreciated.


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Older sheep care
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2020, 11:40:12 pm »
Sheep rolls are hard on the teeth, as are turnips.  Try sheep coarse mix which is easier to chew.
I think you have picked up a mixed message about pulling out teeth.  When an older ewe gets a wobbly front tooth it can put her off ripping grass, so you can pull out a wobbly one, but leave the healthy teeth.
I don't know if six and a half is old for BWM but that is young for the breed I keep, Hebrideans, so I would be investigating my breeding criteria if mine were losing teeth that young.  See if broken mouths are occurring in one breeding line, and only breed from ewes with good mouths, good feet, good milkiness, good udders, longevity and so on.
If they start to lose condition then give them extra coarse mix, don't breed them that year and make sure they have grass which is easy to pull, as well as lick with treacle.  Watch their condition and react quickly.  If it's just one tooth which is wobbly, then once that has come out they will usually start eating normally. For your ewe, she has already lost the teeth and may be ok - if she can't rip grass with the gap there then don't breed from her, or of you do then watch very carefully for twin lamb disease.
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  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Older sheep care
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2020, 05:51:19 am »
I find that one or two teeth missing doesn't make a huge amount of difference and often when I'm doing my autumn breeding checks I'm horrified at how few teeth some ewes have left! When it gets down to three of four teeth I usually cull. The ewe will probably be totally fine over the winter months providing you have a decent lenght of grass and good quality haylage. I lamb in feb/march and its to much for her to feed lambs and hunt around for grass if its scarce that year.

It does feel wrong culling a good healthy looking ewe carrying plenty of weight, but you have to look forward six months and ralie she wouldn't do well with lambs on her.


  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Older sheep care
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2020, 10:44:53 am »
As said ewe rolls are a bit hard for older mouth's  better with a coarse mix  . Some can cope with 2 teeth missing right in the middle and some can't , you have to understand that a sheep cuts grass between the 8 teeth on the bottom jaw and the hard pad at the top , so the less teeth the more difficult especially when they are slack ( this is when removal helps )   Sheep who have lost all of their front teeth can do very well and live a long life


  • Joined Jan 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Older sheep care
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2020, 11:02:58 pm »
Thank you for the replies.
Glad to hear one or two missing teeth shouldnít do her too much harm. I will move them off the ewe rolls and onto softer more forgiving feed like coarse mix. Theyíve not had neeps in years. It never crossed my mind that ewe rolls would do their teeth damage, but they donít get a lot of them often, however I expect sheíll prefer changing her treat if it puts off being culled.
Iíve only the 5 ewes that are that age and two of their daughters who will go to the tup this year. I donít lamb until April when the grass starts to come in so she should be fine. Iím not sure when the teeth have gone, but sheís just reared two good lambs on just grass and sheís got good condition on her now 6 weeks after weaning, so it canít have held her back too much but I will keep a closer eye on her in the future and supplement her if needed.
Many thanks


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