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Author Topic: Wiltshire Horn shedding too much  (Read 430 times)

Devonshiredumpling

  • Joined May 2022
Wiltshire Horn shedding too much
« on: May 30, 2022, 09:47:20 pm »
We have a flock of Wiltshire Home, and Iím concerned that two of the oldest ewes shedding wool right down to their bare skin, which looks very odd. All the others moult down to a short fleece.

It must be very cold for them at night, and I think that they might get sunburnt during the day, unless their skin is supposed to look quite pink.

Is this due to old age? We have an even older matriarch ewe, and itís not happening to her.

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Wiltshire Horn shedding too much
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2022, 08:05:19 am »
I'm sure someone more experienced will advise soon, but I would say that that doesn't look normal. We keep a few Wiltshire Horns and they do indeed just shed to a shorter hairier coat. You don't say where yours tend to rub the fleece off - ours rub along the fences or against hedges and low hanging tree boughs - maybe your ewes have found somewhere rather more abrasive which is making the skin sore?

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Wiltshire Horn shedding too much
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2022, 12:10:27 pm »
No that's not normal, not patchy in that way and with that amount of abrasion.  Suspect passengers...  See if you can get a skin scrape, from the wool/not wool edge (a bit from both sides) and from the crusting edge of a lesion or two and take it to the vet for analysis.  Could be scab (notifiable in Scotland, must be treated in England and Wales), sucking or biting/chewing lice (both treatable but different drugs), keds.  (Keds would not normally bother a healthy sheep, but if they've found lambing and lactating hard this year, it could make them more susceptible.)

If the vet says no passengers, then perhaps it's wool slip due to earlier illness or just finding it hard this year, and then sunburn on top which has made them scratch. 


Edited after reading up about scab on NADIS linky

If it was an exam question, from the location and type of the lesions I would go scab.  I very much hope for yours and the sheeps' sakes it's one of the other things! 
« Last Edit: May 31, 2022, 12:17:31 pm by SallyintNorth »
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

Devonshiredumpling

  • Joined May 2022
Re: Wiltshire Horn shedding too much
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2022, 05:27:19 pm »
Thank you for your helpful advice! Theyíve all been treated with Crovect and Combinex, so shouldnít have any parasites. Iíll read up about what youíve suggested

Devonshiredumpling

  • Joined May 2022
Re: Wiltshire Horn shedding too much
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2022, 05:43:13 pm »
Iíve looked it up, and I agree that it does look worryingly like scab! On the plus side, the sheep have no lesions whatsoever so far. Also, could they suddenly develop scab when theyíve had no contact with other sheep? We donít mix with other sheep and there have been no new sheep in the flock. A couple of young ones sometimes escape into a cattle field next door, but there are no other sheep for miles.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Wiltshire Horn shedding too much
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2022, 08:23:47 am »
As far as I know, scab transfers sheep to sheep, directly or indirectly (ie., via fence posts, bits of wool, clothing, transport, etc.) 

Combinex is for internal parasites, I don't think it has any effect on ectoparasites. 

Crovect does biting / chewing lice but not sucking lice.  So they may need ivermectin or similar if it's the other sort of louse.  If you applied Crovect as for preventing blowflies, it would not have been effective against any lice.  (For flystrike prevention, the product is applied to the surface of the wool and protects only the wool where it lands.  For lice, it must be applied to the skin, by parting the wool and using a different nozzle to dispense a line along the spine.)

Or another possibility is scrapie, which is notifiable. 

They look very uncomfortable, I would urge you to get the vet involved.  You could spend a while and a lot of money trying to solve this by treating what it might be.
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

Devonshiredumpling

  • Joined May 2022
Re: Wiltshire Horn shedding too much
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2022, 10:29:40 am »
Thank you for your reply! We always apply the Crovect directly to the skin, in a line down the spine, thatís how I was taught luckily. The sheep are behaving normally and have a good appetite, and upon close inspection there are no lesions or sore places on their skin, And they donít appear to be in any discomfort.
I will keep a close eye on them and ring the vet if anything changes.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Wiltshire Horn shedding too much
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2022, 11:33:52 am »
I thought I saw lesions on the pic you posted.  (Lesions in this context would be scabs or crusty skin, or broken skin.  Basically, any skin that isn't healthy, unbroken skin!)

On looking closer, I can see that one area I thought particularly bad is in fact purple marker!  But it still looks as though there are a few scabs dotted about.  I have marked these in red on the screenshot attached, and the one I now see to be marker in green.

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

Devonshiredumpling

  • Joined May 2022
Re: Wiltshire Horn shedding too much
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2022, 08:49:20 pm »
Just an update on the sheep.

The affected ewe quickly lost her entire fleece, but her skin stayed smooth without any scabs or lesions, and after a couple weeks she is now covered with a light fuzz again.
The other ewe who lost a small patch of wool, Showing bare skin, hasnít lost any more.
All the sheep are behaving as normal and have a good appetite.

We contacted a sheep farmer who said itís just rain rot and theyíll be better dreckly!
It canít be scab as there are no other sheep in the entire Valley, and if it was scrapie they would be showing signs of illness by now.
No other sheep have lost wool, so Iím satisfied that it is indeed rain rot.

 

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