Help. Whats happening with my ewe

Baymule

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Beautiful little girl! So glad that all went well and that you have a healthy lamb.

My question to @Ridgetop is, should the ewe be culled since she prolapsed? If it happened once, will it happen again, even though she gave birth with no problems? I never had a prolapsed ewe and hope I never do!
 

Ridgetop

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I would probably cull her in a large flock. However, if Zummerol wants to take a chance on her in a small flock knowing the risks, that is something she can decide later.

Most sheep producers routinely cull prolapsed animals. This is because tending to a prolapse prone ewe is time consuming and costs money. Most farming is done on a knife edge between profit and loss. It is easier and cheaper to keep a replacement from a ewe that has had no problems. Medium and larger producers see no point in wasting time and money on a single ewe that might prolapse at any time and die anyway.

My questions for @Zummerol when deciding this would be -

1. What are the bloodlines on this ewe? Do you already have others with these genetics? Can you cull this ewe and continue your breeding program? Do you need these genetics in your flock?

2. Is this ewe docked? Can't tell in the pix if she is docked or if you are holding up her tail. Sometimes a severely short doc can lead to prolapse. If that is the case, and you dock this lamb, dock her several vertebrae long to make sure that your dock doesn't damage the tail muscles. A very short dock can damage muscle and nerve tissue. Mounting numbers of prolapses in show sheep led to a rule in California that the docked tail stub has to be able to be lifted on the edge of a pencil. Many breeders still consider that to be too short. We dock for cleanliness during breeding and lambing however we leave at least 3 vertebrae which translates to a 3-4" tail stub when grown. Some commercial breeders leave a 6" stub.

3. If the ewe is docked long or was not docked we move to the question of whether this is a fluke thing or a genetic flaw. It is possible that this prolapse problem will not occur in the ewe lamb even if it is genetic. Half the genetic material in this ewe lamb is from the ram. Is the ram related to the mama in any way. Has the ram produced any ewes that have prolapsed? The fact that mama did not prolapse again during lambing is a good sign. I would continue to watch to see if she prolapses again. Particularly if you decide to breed her again.

4. The final questions - is the prolapsing ewe a family pet? Will it devastate you to sell, euthanize, or cull her? Can you afford to keep her without breeding her again? Do you have the facilities to keep her separated from the ram permanently? Are you willing to put in the extra time and expense to deal with the prolapse if it occurs again?

5. If the answer to #4 above is "NO", the question becomes - do you want to take the chance that this ewe lamb will carry a genetic tendency to prolapse? Are you willing to put the groceries and time into this ewe lamb and take a chance with her? If you are, do so. Just be aware that the tendency may be there to prolapse. Having gone through it before you will be able to recognize it and deal with it. At that point I would cull both mama, daughter, lambs, as well as any closely related ewes/rams.

So many questions that @Zummerol will need to consider honestly before making this decision.

I have culled ewes and does that I decided were not profitable breeders for my flocks over the past 30 years. I have euthanized ewes that were not fit to continue breeding. Most culls were for health issues, some were sold because they did not fit my breeding program. Some were beloved family pets. Some ewes that I sold at the auction for $100 were ewes I had bought for $500-900. Some that I had to euthanize I paid high prices for as well. Farming is not always a profitable business.

I have kept Snowflake whose mother had a major rectal prolapse ending in euthanasia. She was docked very short. Her 1/2 sister out of the same bloodline died lambing. She was also docked very short and her lambs did not survive. I want that bloodline in my flock but if Snowflake (who we docked long) has problems I will cull her. I am willing to take a chance on Snowflake for the diversity she will give my flock. But I won't coddle her because a ewe that throws that trait in her lambs is not a good breeding ewe.

Everyone has to make that decision on their own.

Congrats on an adorable lamb! :hugs
 

Baymule

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Great informative post @Ridgetop . I draw on your wisdom and experience every chance I get. You put it all into words so well and asked thought provoking questions. We all learn from the experience of others. Thanks for being such a great teacher and sharing from the deep well of your hard earned knowledge.
 

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