Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Total Noob saying hi and panicking  (Read 1605 times)

writingripples

  • Joined Feb 2019
Total Noob saying hi and panicking
« on: February 20, 2019, 02:16:38 pm »
Hey everyone. I've been lurking for a while now, searching the extremely useful sheep forum and discovering I probably don't have the right temperament for sheep.

My name's Vicky, and I'm an accidental shepherdess. Or something.

Long story short: about a year ago, I was visiting a friend and we went to say hi to the sheep farmer who owns the land my friend lives on. He told us all about his lambing season so far, then produced a little cutie with a wonky leg. "I'll have to knock this little fella on the head if I can't straighten him out," says he.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooo!" says I.

And so we had a lamb. Eric the Wonky Lamb.

We have just under two acres and made a little paddock. Too small really, but I run a business from home and let them out regularly.

Of course we couldn't just have one lamb, so we adopted a little bottle-fed orphan called Tigger.

Then I sent Eric to a farm animal rescue sanctuary because I just didn't know enough about sheep in general, let alone wonky ones, to look after him. Then Tigger was alone. So I had to get Bronson to keep her company.

Tigger was a small breed, Bronson is a Jassant (Ouessant x Jacob) so he's dinky.

Tigger got sick in May and died. I took her to the vet, and the vet said there was nothing to do but put her down. So I did and was heartbroken.

Bronson cried for two days, and so did I (my husband was away for the week – fantastic timing). So I got him two friends – two little Ouessant wethers (Picard and Kernic).

I've had a hugely steep learning curve, and feel like a prize idiot. I feel like I'm doing everything wrong – we vaccinated them all for the first time on Saturday, which went fine.

Since then, they've been grand.

Today, they've been behaving oddly. Subdued, rubbing against walls, standing looking a bit sad. Stamping and twitching.

At first I thought flystrike, although it's early – it's been super warm the past couple of weeks. T-shirt warm.

But I've checked two of them thoroughly and cannot see any signs. No signs of footrot.

So I'm panicking. And feeling guilty and like I should not be keeping sheep.

Apologies for the long post – this is an introduction and a "help please"...

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Total Noob saying hi and panicking
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2019, 08:35:52 am »
Rubbing against walls sounds like ectoparasites of some sort. Difficult to spot the culprits at the best of times but I assume your sheep are black? 

You say you “let them out regularly” - where are they between playtimes?  If they’re indoors in hot weather they’ll be warm, and that in itself could explain the symptoms. 

Is there shelter (from sun and from flies as well as from rain) in the paddock?

What bedding do they have and how often do you change it?  Sleeping on old hay is a good source of little passengers...
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

Black Sheep

  • Joined Sep 2015
  • Briercliffe
    • Monk Hall Farm
Re: Total Noob saying hi and panicking
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2019, 07:07:43 pm »
I'm no sheep expert, having had ours for just over a year, but potentially the vaccination site is irritating them. Sheep vaccines are large volume compared to human ones and there is often a lump at the site. Combine this with the fact that they are often subcutaneous (rather than intramuscular) - which tend to have a greater rate of skin reactions - and that vaccines stimulate an immune response, so lead to processes that will often cause local itching and the sensation of feeling like you are coming down with something, and you can see how they may be a bit off.

As mentioned, biting lice or other ectoparasites are another likely cause. Twist out some fleece from near the skin and open it up in your hands. Watch any little flecks constantly and see if they move - lice often move away from the light. It can be really hard to discern but if you focus on individual ones you will see.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Total Noob saying hi and panicking
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2019, 11:43:04 pm »
Have you bought yourself a book on sheep keeping?  You need something on a smallholding/homesteading scale.  Without that you will continue to wallow and panic.  Learn how to care for your animals from a good source.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

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

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

writingripples

  • Joined Feb 2019
Re: Total Noob saying hi and panicking
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2019, 09:41:01 am »
Thank you for the responses :)

Rubbing against walls sounds like ectoparasites of some sort. Difficult to spot the culprits at the best of times but I assume your sheep are black? 

You say you “let them out regularly” - where are they between playtimes?  If they’re indoors in hot weather they’ll be warm, and that in itself could explain the symptoms. 

Is there shelter (from sun and from flies as well as from rain) in the paddock?

What bedding do they have and how often do you change it?  Sleeping on old hay is a good source of little passengers...

Two black and one white. They're in a small paddock with a proper shelter when they're not out with me. They have some hardstanding in the shelter, which they always seem to prefer to anything else bedding-wise.

I've had a good look over them and can't see anything – I think possibly they might be bothered by midges and smaller flies, is that normal? There's a lot of stamping going on, and watching them closely there do seem to be tiny midges and flies.

I'm no sheep expert, having had ours for just over a year, but potentially the vaccination site is irritating them. Sheep vaccines are large volume compared to human ones and there is often a lump at the site. Combine this with the fact that they are often subcutaneous (rather than intramuscular) - which tend to have a greater rate of skin reactions - and that vaccines stimulate an immune response, so lead to processes that will often cause local itching and the sensation of feeling like you are coming down with something, and you can see how they may be a bit off.

As mentioned, biting lice or other ectoparasites are another likely cause. Twist out some fleece from near the skin and open it up in your hands. Watch any little flecks constantly and see if they move - lice often move away from the light. It can be really hard to discern but if you focus on individual ones you will see.

I'll check the vax site today, but it's reassuring to know they might just be feeling a bit off. The one who really got me worried is back to normal again.

I'm fairly sure they don't have parasites but I'll keep checking carefully :)

Have you bought yourself a book on sheep keeping?  You need something on a smallholding/homesteading scale.  Without that you will continue to wallow and panic.  Learn how to care for your animals from a good source.

I have indeed got a couple of books. I'm also planning to attend a sheepkeeping course this year.

I've just secured another small field for them, so we'll be able to rotate them now, which has given me some peace of mind.

Thank you for the responses, I really appreciate it!

islaSkye

  • Joined Sep 2016
Re: Total Noob saying hi and panicking
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2019, 07:55:54 pm »
Youre in good company here, I was like you, new to sheep keeping and flung in at the deep end but I have been here for a few years now and theres nothing we cant sort out together! the course youre going on will stand you in good stead and the rest will come with experience which, as a collective, we have so ask away, and your doing great by the way!
Keep up the good work   ;)

writingripples

  • Joined Feb 2019
Re: Total Noob saying hi and panicking
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2019, 10:32:00 am »
Youre in good company here, I was like you, new to sheep keeping and flung in at the deep end but I have been here for a few years now and theres nothing we cant sort out together! the course youre going on will stand you in good stead and the rest will come with experience which, as a collective, we have so ask away, and your doing great by the way!
Keep up the good work   ;)

Ah thank you! Makes me feel better.

The TinySheeps are all fine again, behaving terribly and showing me up in front of the neighbours. So all is well :D

 

getting sheep - total newbie to sheep!!

Started by plumseverywhere (6.79)

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