Loving the herd life
- Jan 10, 2022
- Reaction score
The ramp is about 25 degree incline. None of the other sheep think twice about running up or down it even in their immensely pregnant state. It is about 8 feet long and 20” at the top and a 4” step up at the bottom in order to decrease the incline. I’ve checked mouth, eyes, teeth, feet, feces and ears and she is sound. I have been feeding her outside with a pound of premium grain mixed with minerals and 6-9lbs per day of alfalfa/Timothy hay mix hung in a bag just for her. She has been eating will and I’ve noticed marked improvement both behaviorally and, hoping I am not being too optimistic, her spine exam is already starting to feel slightly improved. Part of that is over this week she has been getting a full belly (obvious visually) and has been chewing cud almost constantly. Her eyes look brighter and her movement is quickened. I would rate her a 1.5 (optimistically) if I was looking at her for the first time. But I want to see the same improvement over at least a month before I call her ’out of the woods’.Are your sheep used to entering a chute? If so, putting up sidewalls would help. How steep and tall is the ramp? Most sheep will follow where the first few go so maybe there is something about this barn that spooks her. Maybe move her to the group in the old barn and put one of that group in the new barn.
If her condition scale is down to a 1, is it possible that something else is happening to bring her this far down? Do a fecal for worm count, and worm her. If necessary, drag her into the barn on a halter and put her into a smaller isolated pen in case she is sick. Then you can keep closer track of how exactly much she is eating and drinking. Try heating her water and give her electrolytes. Hang a heat lamb over the pen. Use a standard100 watt bulb if she is carrying wool since a big heat lamb bulb might be too hot for her.
I opened up a couple walls in the nursery barn and gave them another 100 square feet which they have been taking advantage. I will be putting up robust rails on the ramp to give it a more ‘secure’ appearance on the off chance that this is a ‘fear of open sided bridges’ kind of thing with her perspective of the ramp. The other pregnant ewes are running up and down the ramp with ease and she has never been a loner so this is just a weird thing. Due to the weather I can’t put up a light for her until she comes in of her own accord. The electrolytes are a good idea but I don’t want to give the whole flock electrolytes so I will administer doses several times per day with a large oral syringe. She is drinking well and getting more than ample complex minerals with the pound of grain that she eats. I am fairly convinced that this is a weird psychological sheep thing after observing her for many hours over several days. i have always been slow and gentle with them rather than dragging or pushing…bribes are not out of the question. It’s just my way and it works well with this breed. Today at dinner time she walked up and pushed gently on my hand to get her head stroked…this is massive improvement in disposition from one week ago when she was demonstrating a slight malaise and ’dim eye’ not wanting to make any contact. I think this is going in the right direction…fingers crossed and job list checked daily!
Update today: Added protein lick bucket, 50lbs out near her food. The other ewes are sharing but she is focusing on getting her share. Did another exam today..there is definite build up of fat alone the spine from one week ago. A confident 1.5 on the health scale now and headed in the right direction!