Monday, March 09, 2020

Fleece teaser

2 of last year's fleeces
Betty Horned Dorset
$10 plus S&H

Ivory Dorset/Romney
$10 plus S&H

Tuesday, February 25, 2020


Unfortunately, it is that time of year here in NH that coccidia shows up.

Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract of animals caused by coccidian protozoa. The disease spreads from one animal to another by contact with infected feces or ingestion of infected tissue. Diarrhea, which may become bloody in severe cases, is the primary symptom.

My take away here is to keep your land, especially around the feeding stations, dry. 

Sporulated oocysts are resistant to adverse environmental conditions and can survive as long as one year in moist, protected environments if they are not exposed to freezing or extremely high temperatures.

Here is how to clean your animals yard (dogs), I don't know how effective it is for the sheep yard, but you never know. You could use the ammonia and water mixture to clean your feeders, and your boots when leaving the barn. I think I am going to put a tray with this mixture in it in the barn for people to walk in before coming in and after leaving the barn. We've always used bleach and water, but we will do this combo instead from now on.

This is the best take away that I got from the following site.
Preventive medications must be used at least 30 days before lambing to prevent ewes from infecting their lambs and at least 30 days prior to weaning to help protect lambs during this stressful event. Additionally, the use of a coccidiostat at the right time in the production cycle does not replace proper hygiene but complements it.

Dogs and cats can get it as well.

It is not uncommon for very young puppies and kittens to contract coccidia, but the infection will usually go away without treatment. However, some animals do not fight it off on their own, and will require a vet's assistance. The number one symptom to watch for is bloody stool.

Just as a safeguard I think I will disinfect the whole barn with this product, walls and floors, the next time we strip the barn. I generally put lime down on the cleaned floors before putting down fresh bedding. Using yet another product might be going overboard, but if I can prevent the losses like we had last year, I am willing to try it.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

I learned something new today

Kaopectate and Pepto Bismal are no longer (and may never have been) safe to give sheep for diarrhea. It was highly suggested by a number of people to use Kaolin Pectin instead. I will look when I go to the grain store today just to have some on hand.

Different reasons/causes of scours/diarrhea in sheep and goats.

Kaolin Anti-Diarrhea Liquid is for oral administration control of non-infectious diarrhea in cats, dogs, horses and cattle.

Detoxifies, coats and soothes gastrointestinal membranes.

Helps remove bacterial toxins.

Helps prevent dehydration.

Comes in a palatable oral suspension.

I am not sure I'd ever need  a gallon, but $7.56 for a gallon is not bad.

Just something else to add to my sheep shelf. After 27 years of raising sheep, it does not hurt to learn something new. Even if it is not something I can use, but something I can share with another who needs it.

Friday, February 07, 2020

Magnesium Deficiency in SheepHypomagnesaemia or Lactation Tetany

I love doing research. Even if it is about disease and mineral imbalances in our animals, or ourselves.

Clinical Signs of Hypomagnesemia

The clinical signs of magnesium deficiency are dramatic. Ewes affected by magnesium deficiency are often either unable to walk or appear uncoordinated. They will often collapse and become sensitive to touch. They frequently show trembling, and when they are stressed they will rapidly become recumbent with legs extended and exhibit involuntary contraction of muscle (tetanic spasms). If they are not treated immediately, death follows rapidly
Treatment of clinical cases involves the subcutaneous administration of Magnesium hypophosphite, or the intravenous administration of a combined solution of calcium and magnesium

Good Practice Based on Current Knowledge

  • Use plants in the sward (e.g. legumes) containing a higher level of minerals, including magnesium
  • Avoid high potassium levels in the sward – care should be taken with cattle slurry and chicken manure
  • Avoid long periods of fasting, especially for lactating cows
  • The potassium content of grass in the spring should not exceed 2.5%
  • During high risk periods, introduce animals earlier and gradually
  • On farms where lactation tetany is a problem, dressing the pasture with kieserite may be a long-term solution
  • To prevent further cases of lactation tetany the flock should be moved off the danger area and onto some permanent pasture or longer-term ley
  • Supplement the affected group with magnesium oxide (magnesite) (120 g/day), magnesium phosphate (54 g/day) and epsom salts (MgSO4)

Our sheep have access to free choice baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). I think I may mix in some Epsom Salt and Magnesium. We also mix Kelp in with our loose mineral salts.
My grain store,, carries Sodium Bicarbonate and Kelp in the 50# bag. Or you can get it here.

Just something else to thing about. I think this spring I will work on overseeding the pig yard with more legumes.  There are a lot of grasses growing out there now that came from putting pigs out there for 3 out of 7 years. They rooted up almost all of the swamp/sedge grass and I assume the grasses growing out there now came from the hay they ate and their poop. I am not sure of the grasses, but some overseeding won't hurt.

Overview of Quercus Poisoning (Oak bud poisoning, Acorn poisoning)

I am stuck in the recliner with a blanket and a cat on my lap with a 2nd day of a nasty headache. I believe it goes with the nasty weather outside and the change in barometric pressure.

One of our shearing customers has a very sick sheep. She thinks they may have eaten too many acorns which can cause poisoning. This is from the Merck Vet  Manual online. I refer to this manual a lot!

Taken from the web page- Signs include anorexia, depression, emaciation, brisket edema, dehydration, rumen stasis, tenesmus, smell of ammonia on the breath, serous ocular or nasal discharge, polydipsia, polyuria, hematuria, icterus, and constipation followed by mucoid to hemorrhagic diarrhea.

Consumption of a pelleted ration supplement (1 kg/head/day) containing 10%–15% calcium hydroxide plus access to more palatable feeds may be used as a preventive measure if exposure to acorns or oak leaves cannot be avoided. Calcium hydroxide, activated charcoal, ruminatorics, and purgatives (such as mineral oil [1 L/500 kg], sodium sulfate [1 kg/400 kg], or magnesium sulfate [450 g/400 kg]) may be effective antidotes if administered early in the course of disease. Polyethylene glycol (1 g/kg/day) administered in the feed or water will bind tannins and reduce tissue damage. Fluid therapy to correct dehydration and acidosis and transplantation of ruminal microflora may be beneficial. Clinical recovery usually occurs within 60 days but is rare if renal dysfunction is severe. Improved range management to limit grazing in immature oak stands will prevent development of the syndrome.

Calcium hydroxide is Pickling LimePickling Lime is Calcium Hydroxide. It's also called “food-grade lime”, because in making the Calcium Hydroxide the processors make sure that the process remains pure and doesn't introduce anything untoward (e.g. it's not done in rusty old bins.)

Magnesium sulfate is Epsom Salt

Polyethylene glycol-propylene glycol

We know our sheep eat a lot of acorns here in the fall. I am not aware if we have had this problem, although it could explain 3 of the deaths we had last spring. It is hard to keep them away from the oaks as most of the woods here are red oak.

I hope our customer's sheep recovers from whatever he got into. And, I hope this helps anyone else who has had this happen to their livestock. I've learned a lot today in researching this.

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