I’ve had several cases of frothy bloat crop up this year. The interesting thing is that it’s appearing in regular ol’ lambs nursing on their mothers, at the age of 3-4 weeks, when they are just starting to transition to real ruminating. I’m used to seeing it in bottle lambs trained to drink of the “milk bar” bucket. They are prone to bloat because of their gorging habit when the bucket is re-filled with milk. But I’ve never seen it before in regular, non-grain-fed lambs, and I can’t find any documentation to explain it.
May 11, 2013
April 28, 2013
I have a poor ewe that’s really has some bad luck this year. I mentioned already that she had triplets, and one of the lambs just couldn’t figure out how to nurse (though he found the bottle perfectly understandable). He’s thriving as a friendly bottle lamb, the ambassador of the season. The day after she lambed, I realized she had an incredible lump on her jaw, bloody saliva and pain (along with crabbiness!). Presuming it was a tooth abscess, I treated her with antibiotics, and this seemed to resolve. I monitored her in the barn for two weeks, then put her back in the pasture with her nursing twins. A week later, I noticed she was standing hangdog, and was not coming to eat the evening grain feeding. A sheep that doesn’t want grain is a sick sheep indeed.
April 10, 2013
In 2011, I kept a ram lamb which I intended to sell, so he could pinch-hit for another ram which I feared may have been rendered temporarily infertile by a raging infection. The pinch-hitter’s lambs turned out so nice I kept him for another year. He and one of my best ewes produced a particularly amazing set of twins- a ewe and a ram- which were by far on the edge of my bell curve for most traits.
I so wanted to see if I could repeat that genetic nick. I doubled-down and bred him back to that ewe, plus her daughter and granddaughter (and some others). I have been looking forward to seeing the results of that breeding for five months!
March 30, 2013
I would be really pleased to have a lambing season start off real boring-like. But it seems like odds are against that. The week leading up to lambing I’m on pins and needles. If a ewe’s fetuses have died, this seems to be the week her body decides to hit the eject button. And so was the case with #10. She was expected to lamb somewhere around Saturday. On Monday morning she had separated from the other sheep and appeared to be going into labor. That was day 141, so on the early side of gestation, but not impossible.
February 4, 2013
It’s been a while since I had old dogs in the house, but I’m heading there again. My two border collies, Maggie and Gene, are eight and nine years old. Gene is still in tip-top shape at nine, but Maggie has been starting to show signs of pain in the last year or two.
Maggie is one of those extreme border collies that does everything at 150% effort. She is not able to pace herself or rest when needed. Her mental commitment to working sheep is so intense that even when she’s not doing something very physically demanding- like holding sheep in a corner- she still overheats easily and gets exhausted. In fact, even talking about sheep will make all of her muscles tense up and shiver, and she can become tired-out just by this kind of teasing conversation!
I started noticing that after a “job” during the day, that night, she’d have difficulty jumping up on the couch or bed. I took her to a veterinary chiropractor, thinking perhaps her back was out. But the vet felt that it was her joints- she said they felt “crunchy.”