Poor body condition help

LindyAcres

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Hello,
We sheared our sheep this weekend and were horrified to realize how skinny they were under all that wool! Two of our ewes are nursing twins and they are the thinnest. Our girl nursing one is probably slightly bigger. Our ram is thin but not like the girls. We have been giving them maybe 2 pounds of alfalfa pellets each per day along with 24/7 second cutting hay. I panicked and bought some all stock sweet feed from tractor supply (the one with no copper marked for sheep) and mixed it in a small amount with their usual alfalfa. They were put onto a fresh rested paddock after deworming and seem happy grazing on and off all day. Also they all look good and pink under the eyelid and no sign of worms so I don't think its that. I am wondering if it's just the lactating and if so what I should add to their food protocol. BTW all their wool was really long and beautiful so they aren't totally wasting away in all directions. Plus the lambs are all chubby healthy looking if that helps to know. Just looking for any words of wisdom on fattening them up and how worried I should be about their condition. The two skinniest are 2 yrs old. The lambs were born mid March.
 

Baymule

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I have hair sheep so their poor condition shows up better. LOL I have some ewes pulled down by their lambs right now. I’m feeding a 14% pellet, alfalfa hay and pasture. Lambs are all fat and sassy. 6 ewes have triplets. Everything is going in their milk bag. I’m monitoring them closely, increasing the alfalfa. I’ll wean rams at 2 months, ewes at 3 months.

I don’t pay much attention to eye membranes. I run fecal exams and count worm eggs under the microscope. I suggest that you get poop from each sheep and take to the vet. I run mine through a chute, put on a glove and yes, I get the sample where it’s made. If that is not an option, carry latex or nitrile gloves in your pocket. Wait for poop to drop, pick up 10 or so pellets. Turn glove inside out, write name on glove. Place in ziplock bag. Refrigerate until taken to vet, best in 1-2 days.

When sheep get up in the morning, they usually poop and it’s a good time to gather samples.
 

LindyAcres

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I should wean ours around then too for the girls sake..

I bought a microscope and slides with the idea of doing that myself but ended up bringing samples to the vet last year. This year the price has doubled to $60 per sample!

I did just like you said and went out as they were waking up this morning and collected the first morning poop. I went in to call the vet to let them know I'd be on the way and found out they no longer have Saturday hours. So I bought a sheep ivermectin drench and weighed everyone and dosed them according to the label.

My question now is should I move them onto a fresh paddock in a few days? I've seen recommendations anywhere from 24 hours to 5 days. I can call the vet on Monday and get their opinion too (btw I think in a couple weeks I'll bring a poop sample in anyways just to make sure we are all good)

Also thanks for taking the time to share advice! All the shepherd books are great for reference, but can't beat a convo with someone who's been there done that :)
 

LindyAcres

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I bought slides from amazon. how did you learn to do egg counts? I was shocked when they said $60. I have no idea what big time farms around here do
 

farmerjan

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Move them approx 48-72 hours after the drench... It takes approx 36 hours to go through the digestive system since sheep also "chew their cud"... so at least 2 days for the worms to die, let go of any attachment to the wall of the stomach and intestines... and pass through. Plus will help to kill some eggs that pass in the manure so they don't hatch... the young larvae will hatch from the worm eggs and crawl up on the stems of the grass so no longer than 5 days or the eggs can have hatched and get on the grass...
We move cattle normally 2 days after worming... although the last 2 groups we wormed and they got moved the next day, due to barn area crowding... but they were going to pastures where there is alot of grass and hoping that they just will not be eating the grass down that far to get the larvae... They are found on most grasses on the lower end of 6" of stem... so grass would have to be eaten short and not had time to regrow much for them to get re-infected with immature larvae off the grass...
 

rachels.haven

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In complement to Baymule's link, here is a similar method if you need to see it. I referenced both when I was learning. If there are differences in fecal/solution amounts between the two obviously try to follow one or the other to preserve the provided ratio.
 

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