"Their time has come; the Katahdins led all breeds in number of sheep registered in the USA in 2013."
G.F. Kennedy, DVM
Pipestone Veterinary Services
Tetanus: Recently I have received many calls about tetanus antitoxin. One of the recent calls the producer had two lambs down and a third dead as the result of using tetanus antitoxin. Folks, I can't make it anymore plain than this, more lambs will die of antiphylactic shock from antitoxin than will ever die from tetanus. Antitoxin is not very effective because its level of protection diminishes rapidly. The products to use are CDT and penicillin. When banding before leaving jug give 1cc of pen mixed with 1cc of CDT subQ in flank area. For demonstration go to my blog site and YouTube processing lambs and listen to the cats growl. http://askavetsheep.wordpress.com. If you have a real problem farm, you may want to consider repeating the process in seven days. The pen early also gives protection against navel infection.
We field hundreds of phone questions and e-mail questions weekly. On e-mail I am answering questions 24/7. Phone questions are answered during office hours. We enjoy providing the service and demand continues to increase. There is no free lunch so to be able to continue and expand service we need your patronage. We don't expect you to purchase all your needs from us and you need to maintain a relationship with your veterinarian for prescription items and other service he or she can provide. In turn, we need some of your business to maintain service and I will take this opportunity to thank you for your patronage. E-mail questions are answered email@example.com. We don't answer questions on face book but do post the most interesting and timely questions there, Pipestone Vet Sheep-Goats. Current information on sheep problems are posted on my Blog site https://askavetsheep.wordpress.com.
I continue to give thought to ASI's plans to grow the sheep industry. We need a new paradigm. I recently received the Minnesota AgriView, a USDA statistical report that showed just short of four million sheep and 2.2 million goats. When I got into the Katahdin business I sarcastically stated that I now had a sheep in goats clothing and this was as close as I could get to a goat without owning one. Maybe someone should give that some thought. The goat people have been increasing their numbers in our area and without much fan fare. Nationally the numbers are almost the same. At our local auction market we now have as many goats as sheep, something that didn't happen a decade ago. The goat market is not dominated by one large player and feed lots are not an issue.
There is a terrific opportunity in the upper Midwest and other parts of the country to use abandoned agriculture buildings and land not suitable for crop farming. I have observed over the last couple of decades how that thinking, led by Dwight Holoway, kept our practice area in the sheep business. Crop farmers added sheep to their programs where the bulk of the labor could be achieved at a time when they were not in the field. At the same time, our feed lots that we were serving were disappearing due to lack of a reliable source of lambs. The paradigm changed and I believe there is still opportunity in many areas.
One obstacle we continue to fight is the lack of veterinarians that want to take interest in the sheep and goat industry. I don't know the answer, but as I write this, is this what makes it possible to do what we do on a nationwide basis. This will continue to be a problem going forward as more prescription products are developed and used. One thing I will say is that we get more thanks in a week serving goat and sheep producers nationwide than we do with the other species in a year.
Their time has come; the Katahdins led all breeds in number of sheep registered in USA in 2013. Trailed by the Hamps and Suffolks. Their time has truly come. The paradigm is changing, look for Katahdins to continue to make inroads as a more acceptable alternative for some people over the conventional wool breeds. All breeds have their place, pursue your choices but don't become pen blind and find the breeds or breed combination of that meets your goals.
By Dr. J.D.Bobb
Successful weaning of your lamb crop requires planning that starts several weeks ahead of the expected wean date. We recommend that lambs be weaned at 60-70 days of age. The lambs should be well-adjusted to eating creep and drinking water by this age. The creep ration should be a 16% protein ration at this age.
The producer should not feed the ewe flock any corn the last week prior to weaning and the ewes should be on coarse grass hay. The reduction of energy will signal the ewe to reduce her milk production, and result in less mastitis and ruined udders. I know many people restrict water at time of weaning, but I do not. If you have done a good job in reducing the quality of forage intake the ewes will dry off correctly. You should walk the weaned ewe pen multiple times a day for the first week watching for signs of mastitis. If you see a ewe with a full, reddened, swollen painful udder, that maybe reluctant to move freely, you should treat her immediately and aggressively. Nuflor and Flunixin work very good in most cases. The higher the milk production, the higher the chance for mastitis. Poor milking ewes rarely have mastitis following weaning.
Lambs wean best if they stay in familiar surroundings. If you can move the ewes to a distant area and leave the lambs in a pen where they know the location of feed and water that is advisable. Makes sure that there is a source or multiple sources of clean, fresh water available. Adding a source of water-soluble Vitamin E and electrolytes to the water sources is recommended. The Vitamin E will help boost immune function and reduce cases of White Muscle Disease. The electrolytes balance the lambs body needs and requirements. Lambs like long stem hay at weaning time and many prefer the hay over a grain source. You should limit the amount of hay after one week, and work at getting the lambs onto a higher grain diet. Keeping a source of high quality hay at low levels in their diet helps prevent Polio, Acidosis, Water Belly, and digestive upset. Bi carb offered free choice as well, is a good idea. Lambs should be gaining a pound a day during this phase, and some lambs will gain over a pound and a half. We think most lambs should be marketed by five months of age, the best doing lambs will be ready by four months of age.
Keep weaned lambs in an area that has plenty of fresh air avoiding stale high ammonia barns. The high ammonia levels lead to barn cough and rectal prolapsing.
Western lambs that have been on grass often are much older when weaned. These lambs should be started with a grass base diet and slowly worked to a concentrate diet over a three-week period. The western lambs definitely should also be started with Vitamin E and electrolytes in their water. If you have questions about handling the ewes or lambs at weaning please give us a call.
Q & A with Doc
Q: we have a ewe that just had triplets for first time, she is 2. One is chilled and weak and we warmed her up. Now another is the same. Going to dunk that one in a warm bath. Are they usually able to feed triplets or should we give one milk replacer? Can u feed milk replacer and leave them in with Mom or will she reject it cause of the smell not being there?
A: I would tube all three with milk replacer or colostrum right now and put with ewe. If she doesn't have enough milk you will have to take one off. By tubing all three you give them equal chance to get mothers colostrum and same start.
Q: I have some bottle babies that are now eating grain and hay and I would like to wean them. Do I cut down the amount of milk gradually or do I stop bottle feeding all at once? We are feeding the Big Gain creep and hay. Do they continue to get hay and free choice feed until market?
A: If over 30 days you should wean. Be sure they have water and stop milk completely. Offer hay free choice all the way to market.
Sometimes we over look one of the most important ingredients in the total ration and how we deliver it. For starters, blocks are worthless. It always should be provided in loose form and free choice. Salt should be offered free of manure contamination and moisture. Salt should be a basic ingredient in all rations and in grain rations should be added at 1%, 20# per ton.
Salt is used as a key carrier to provide access to Vitamins and trace elements including iodine and selenium. Mineral companies use it and flavoring agents to either control or influence consumption of minerals. There is where the danger lies, when the mineral contains phosphorus regardless of ratio it will increase the probability of urinary calculi in male animals. No animal consumes mineral based on need but basically as the result of flavoring agents and salt content.
It may sound like a simple thing but salt starved animals don't do all that well.
If you have any questions, you can reach me firstname.lastname@example.org.You may also reach me onFacebook. 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."
Research Editor: J.D. Bobb, DVM Online Editor: Jenn Landman
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.