Friday, November 15, 2013

Pipestone Sheep Newsletter

In This Issue
Colostrum, Milk, and Life
Straight Talk
Q & A with Dr. Kennedy
Milk Pricing
Contact Us
Volume 33
Issue 10     

     Let's talk about milk replacer. Five years ago we had enough so we decided to custom formulate are own product. I am not a nutritionist, but relying on people that have expertise in the field we determined there were two critical aspects.
     First, it should be skim milk based and we preferred acidification as well. Our product has enjoyed instant success and customer satisfaction. 6,400 lambs can't bewrong.
G.F. Kennedy, DVM
Pipestone Vet Clinic
Colostrum and the Amount of Milk Needed to Sustain Life 
Dr. G.F. Kennedy  
     I can't over emphasize the need for colostrum not only to provide immunity, but also the amount to be fed to meet energy requirements in the first 24 hours after birth. David Mellor, a veterinary physiologist with Massey University in New Zealand, discusses meeting the colostrum needs of new born lambs. His work shows that an eleven pound lamb born outside needed 35 ounces of milk the first 18 hours of life.
     My recommendations are 50 ounces for an average size lamb the first 24 hours. These figures should give producers an idea of how much milk needs to be fed to meet energy requirements. Eight ounces of high quality colostrum may be adequate for immunity. Know the approximate weight of your lambs and don't over extend the stomach by force feeding. Keep in mind the average producer
tends to under feed. The first feeding for an average sized lamb that has not nursed should be a minimum of eight ounces and could be 12 depending on the size of the lamb. 
     Let's talk about colostrum sources.  Ewe or goat colostrum would be best, but it is unlikely to have enough when needed. We sell a product called NurseMate that consists of dried cow colostrum and lamb milk replacer that is a solid product backed by research. The other way for sheep would be to obtain colostrum from a dairy and freeze ahead of time. I like to add lamb and kid milk replacer powder to cow colostrum to increase energy and bring it closer to the real thing. This works well. When thawing colostrum products, do not use a microwave, use warm water. Johne's disease of cattle may be transmitted through milk to goats but not to sheep. Johne's in sheep is different than the Johne's in cattle.
Straight Talk 
Dr. G.F. Kennedy  
     As I write this article, we are looking forward to going to Louisville. We will have 24 Katahdins we will exhibit as well as a Rambouillet ram for Scott. If one has time to attend Louisville it is a good time. We are currently working on the milk replacer roll out, and we have made some minor adjustments in  formula and will be coming with a new bag. If you feed any number of lambs, I would certainly consider  the Lac-Tek Milk  Machine. There seems to be constant questions on worming and this issue contains the printed version of my blog post on wormers.
   At the risk of being viewed politically, I am going to comment on a happening lately. The moose population has been decreasing in several states where they reside and the so called scientists studying the situation say there is a lot of possibilities, but the one common thread is global warming. I would suggest there is another common thread and that is the release and or protection of wolves in these same areas. Wolves have decimated the Elk and Deer populations through out those
same areas. Mountain Lions and Bears can be problems as well.
     When I was a kid growing up in Iowa, I can remember seeing Deer for the first time. The population obviously exploded in the Midwest with only cars and hunters for predators. Elk were a prairie resider and civilization drove them to the high country. Now we introduced wolves to eliminate that for habitat as well. The wolves are now over populating and are dying of mange. As they become sickened, the balance of the pack kills them or they freeze to death in the winter. Maybe the so called scientists should take a second look.
     We have a new product called FOXLIGHTS, a night predator deterrent developed in Australia. I have no idea how well they work, but the Army bought 30 to keep the locals out of their camp in Afghanistan. When I was a kid, I can remember my dad using flares on the perimeters of turkeys in the alfalfa to keep fox away. Probably worth a try and all you have to feed them is a six volt battery.
    Don't get skimmed by whey.
     Let's talk about milk replacer. Five years ago we had enough so we decided to custom formulate are own product. I am not a nutritionist, but relying on people that have expertise in the field we
determined there were two critical aspects. First, it should be skim milk based and we preferred acidification as well. Our product has enjoyed instant success and customer satisfaction. 6,400 lambs can't be wrong.
     Now come the competitors with products that are cheaper priced. By leaving out the costly ingredients that are used for human consumption, you can lower the price on a twenty five pound bag by three to four dollars. We have less margin than that so we chose to compete with quality and performance, not price. I refuse to sacrifice animal welfare for cost.
     It is pretty simple.  If you use skim milk at 1.44 versus dried whey concentrate at .62 per pound, it does make a difference.  Dairy calves are started on higher cost ingredients and then the formula is cheapened up at two weeks.  Calves are fed for eight weeks while sheep should be weaned at 30 days. Time doesn't permit changing the formula once started as they are fed full feed free choice.
     I never back away from a fight when the welfare of animals is involved.  Not only is it the right thing to do but a well-cared for healthy animal is the most profitable.
     It all revolves around the difference in protein and lactose content.  The majority of the protein content of skim milk powder is casein. Otherwise known as slow protein, casein is slowly released after ingestion. 
Whey protein is a fast protein
which is quickly assimilated; the casein has been removed through the cheese making process.  The feeding of whey can result in intestinal  hemorrhage syndrome caused by rapid fermentation of lactose and high levels of gas production, abomasal bloat. 

Q & A with Dr. Kennedy 
     Q:  I am having a barber pole worm problem in my Katahdin ewes. I typically just deworm based on anemia and condition but there have been far more this year and I am getting resistance and some deaths. I also have September lambs on some of them who look pretty bad and have loose stool. I was thinking of early weaning. What would be your suggestion to treat the ewes and lambs? 
     A: I get criticized for not supporting FAMACHA,  but I fail to understand the practice of allowing animals to become clinically sick from parasitism when there are other protective procedures available. I look at it as an animal welfare issue as well. I would use Dectomax and worm all the sheep and place in a dry lot or switch pastures. I would wean the September lambs. They need to be at least 5 weeks old and 8 would be better. They may have worms, but I would suggest coccidia is their problem and you may want to drench those lambs with sulfa and leave them on a bit longer.  Be sure to worm the lambs as well.

: The Noromectin is injected for the sheep? I only ask, as my vet had me previously use Dectomax injectable administered orally.     
A: There is no reason to use Dectomax orally. It should be injected. Noromectin can be injected as well.

     Q:  I understand we are not located in a particularly low-selenium area, but have gotten into the practice of using a shot of BoSe as a sort of "hail Mary" pass when a sick sheep seems near checking out. Of course this hasn't a high success rate. My wife, who is excellent help and an RN, gets notions. One of her notions is that BoSe is often deadly poison. We most recently gave a couple of weak and failing lambs the tiny dose of 1/4 - 1/2 cc. The lambs died soon after. Ergo, she is convinced it was the BoSe that speeded their demise. Can you settle our disagreement about how toxic or (I maintain) non -toxic normal therapeutic doses of BoSe are, even if given when deficiency is not the underlying problem.
     A: Twenty years ago, I killed one of my own sheep by giving a second injection of BoSe. I am not a fan of the product for several reasons. The vitamin E level is not therapeutic and oral consumption thru salt and feed is safer and more cost effective.

Dr. G.F. Kennedy 
     Most common question I get this time of year is what is safe for pregnant ewes? All of the most effective wormers are, Dectomax,IvermectinCydectin and ProhibitValbazen isn't, and I don't recommend any of the other white wormers. I have given up chasing tape worms.  Eventually, sheep develop immunity and they are gone anyway with little if any economic loss. 
     Anytime you are working pregnant ewes, care must be taken. I don't recommend any procedures, vaccinations, worming, sorting, working with dogs, what so ever in the first 30 days of pregnancy.
     Pour ons don't work and shouldn't be used as drenches.
     The FAMACHA thing, I might have missed the spelling, I cant find any reason to support. why would you allow an animal to suffer from parasitism when there are adequate drugs and management programs to prevent clinical parasitism. Not only is it bad husbandry, its an animal welfare issue as well. It appears to me when an intellectual groups get their hold on a process or condition that is poorly defined and complicated they can promote programs without substance or with limited value for ever. OPP is another.
Milk Pricing   
Don't be skimmed by whey!
     We are fast approaching that time of year when we will be using milk replacer. We will be transitioning to a new bag and will be offering the same skim milk based product that we have enjoyed success with in the past, Shepherd's Choice Lamb and Kid Milk Replacer.
     Until February 1st, 2014 we will be pricing any amount of SHEPHERDS CHOICE MILK at $41.95 for a 25 lb bag and $82.95 50 for a 50 lb bag. In ton lots, a pallet or more, the price is $40.95 and $80.90. This is the cash price FOB Pipestone. Four percent surcharge on credit card purchase or charged to a current open credit account. After February 1st, 2014 the product will be priced as market conditions dictate.
     General pricing: Sheep and goat producers that have accounts exceeding $1000 annually are eligible for reduced pricing on the most commonly used products and milk sales qualify. On major purchases a coupon can be requested and issued for 4% discount at time of purchase for cash or check. Those eligible for reduced pricing will continue to receive a reduced price on SHEPHERD'S CHOICE MILK after
February 1st, 2014.
Contact Us
  If you have any questions, you can reach me  You may also reach me on Like us on Facebook
  Facebook. There is a link on our website, Facebook is where my most interesting and recent questions are posted. It is not a chat site. If you have a question, send it to my email. I also have a new blog that can be accessed here.
In closing, I would like to share this with you ...
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."   
About Us
Sheepletter is published ten times yearly.
Phone                              507-825-4211
Fax                                    507-825-3140
ORDERS ONLY             800-658-2523

Editor: Shannon Bouman   Regular Contributors: GF Kennedy, DVM,
J.D. Bobb, DVM, J.L. Goelz, DVM, C.W. Vlietstra, DVM 
Research Editor: J.D. Bobb, DVM  Online Editor: Shannon Bouman 
Veterinary services, procedures, biologicals, and drugs mentioned in this publication represent the personal opinions and clinical observations of the contributing author. They are in no way intended to be interpreted as recommendations without the consent of the producer's own practicing veterinarian. We strongly urge that producers establish a patient-client-veterinarian relationship that allows extra-label use when there are no drugs approved for treatment or if approved drugs are not effective. This procedure allows veterinarians to go beyond label directions when "prudent use" is necessary. The limited availability of drugs and biologics in this country is a major factor in restricting the growth of the sheep industry and allowing producers to compete in the world market place.


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