Problems with birthing this year

frustratedearthmother

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This may seem the most basic of questions - but have your ewes been dewormed? This wouldn't apply to the lambs - but birthing brings on a parasite bloom that can take down a mama fairly quickly after a stressor like parturition. I second the notation about selenium. These would be the 'simplest' things to remedy. But, it does sound like it may be more than that... Hope your vet can give you some answers.
 

Ridgetop

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At supper last night we (DH, DS1 and DS2) were discussing your problem and DH suggested you check your feed supplements for copper. Is it possible that you are feeding a combination feed to your sheep, goats, and cattle that would have too much copper for the sheep? Milk fever usually only affects the mother, not the newborn.

What about feed storage? Both DS1 and DS2 wondered about mold on the feed or hay with the amount of rain you have gotten.

We suggest that you have the vet draw blood on your ewes, lambs, and the ram and do a panel for minerals, selenium, copper, etc. as well as white cell levels for infection. Have you given any antibiotics?

I can't think of anything that would take down both mothers and lambs like this other than selenium deficiency. Having your 2 surviving lambs start having trouble walking a few days after a successful birth would indicate a severe selenium deficiency to me. However, a blood panel and necropsy on one of the ewes might give you some answers.

How many ewes have lambed successfully? Are they all having problems or is this a percentage? The older ewe with the smelly dead lambs indicates that the lambs had died previous to labor and deliver which could have been due to her age in combination with this problem you are experiencing. Does the ram show any indications of weakness? Are any of your neighbors having this problem? If so, it might be something coming from the amount of rain you had last year affecting the hay you put up.

Please keep us informed. We are praying for you. This is a devastating loss.
 

ewellons

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@Baymule Thank you! Gave the two lambs a dose of Banamine and Nuflor last night and they seem to have a little more spark as of this am. Will give another dose tomorrow and hope they recover from whatever they have..
 

ewellons

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The feed is sheep feed and I have checked the amount of copper. We have had one successful birth and the two lambs I am taking care of now, their mom is doing great? I will be discussing getting some labs drawn as soon as the vet gets back in town and hopefully find out what is going on. Yes, they have all been wormed.
 

ewellons

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Forgot to add that all the sheep also have free range to loose minerals that are specifically for sheep. The ram is not showing and sign of weakness. He is with a wether we keep for company for him and they are both doing fine. They eat same feed and same hay..
 

mysunwolf

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Definitely look into Selenium deficiency. Even if it's in their minerals, they can still become deficient if there's a high level of molybdenum in the soil as it binds with it (among other things). Try giving the lambs 1/4cc BoSe. Good luck, I'll be following to see what happens as I'd really like to know!
 

Ridgetop

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Selenium is prescription only here in California. If your vet will give you a prescription or sell you a vial for your flock/herd you can keep it on hand in the refrigerator. It will be cheaper than having the vet come out each time to give a shot. We got ours years ago from my friend that had a dairy. Dairies usually have Bo-Se (bovine selenium) on hand to treat their herds rather than the vet having to drag it out when he comes on his monthly calls. If you can't get it from the vet, you should just arrange a farm call for him to give a booster of selenium to all your animals about 4-6 weeks prior to birthing. Too much selenium early in gestation can cause birth defects so be sure of the dose and when you give it.

Selenium deficiency can combine with Vitamin E deficiency as well. There is information on both on the web.
 

Ron Bequeath

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Thank you @Baymule . I have read the articles which are very interesting . We do have cats and unfortunately we have a lot of rodents that are around also. I thank you for your support and will be talking with the Vet to get them tested. I love my sheep but this has just been very frustrating year!
where I'm located there is an eighty acre cornfield behind me, one year after the corn was taken off I started having problems with rodents even to the point of bites on my cows ears. I was exasperated. Didnt know what to do so bought a bag of rodent poison pellets, feed and milked the in the evening, and then instead of leaving her in the barn as usual I turned her out and dumped the bag in her feed box. I checked the box in the morning and it was licked clean. For the next few days buried 20 rodents and didn't have any more problems that year.
 

momto6Ls

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This sounds like our kidding season with our goats for the past two years. The first year I suspected the buck also - it was the only change. I thought it was just poor genetics, but I missed the signs in the does. It took 5 years for the selenium deficiency to rear its ugly head. We sold 2 does before they kidded last year - they were the oldest of our herd, so probably the most deficient. They both had quads (which didn’t help), but the buyer lost 5 of the 8. She almost lost one of the does.

Hearing that the ones with more lambs seem to have suffered the most, and that they were weak in the hind end also sounds like selenium. We also had an early abortion, and hard sacks around the kids - which caused some deaths - as well as still births. Any obvious problems with contractions? Our does had weak contractions that caused some of the still births - they just couldn’t get them out fast enough! We ended up doing a lot of pulling. :confused: This is also caused by selenium deficiency. I didn’t know anything about selenium, so I missed all the first signs.

After some great advice, we gave selenium to the does still needing to kid and our results improved. Kids were still weak, but bounced right back with B complex and more selenium.

I hope the answer is as easy for you! What a traumatic season!! I’m so sorry for your loss, and hope the support here can make a difference.

check your selenium! Set a regimen to give selenium supplements with your loose minerals if needed. We have had to do both. I know what we use is not recommended for sheep, so I won’t go there. Hugs!!
 

Jeff n Jenny

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I can't wait for this lambing season to be finished! I have lost 11 lambs and two ewes!! The vet is unsure what is going on and feels it may be the ram that we used this year who has been on our farm but just used him this year. The ewes would go down in the hind quarters and just get gradually weaker. One delivered three dead lambs and then three days later died also. The same with the second ewe. After reading everything I was guessing pregnancy toxemia so with the second ewe I tried the glucose drench, the vitamin B12 and the CMPK but nothing worked for her. I then go out one morning and one of the other ewes delivered a set of twins with out and problem?!? Another ewe who is the oldest in the flock and was not supposed to be bred ended up delivering 4 dead smelly lambs??? She did need help due to two of them being breech. As if that hasn't been enough, I then have another ewe go down same symptoms as the first two. I called the vet again and this time decide just to due a c section. She did have two good size lambs but unfortunately both of those died also. The good news is that the ewe who had the c section is doing good but then I had another ewe deliver triplets, two ram lambs and one ewe lamb. This ewe had no problems with delivery but the runt ram lamb did pass away. Now my problem is that the two remaining lambs just don't seem to be thriving? The ram lamb wont put any weight on his right rear quarter for the past two days and the ewe lamb is starting to do the same thing. My vet is out of town for a couple of days and I have already given them both V-B12....any other suggestions? I have one more ewe to deliver and pray every day that I will be going out to the barn and see her with some healthy lambs!! We have raised sheep for 16 years and have NEVER had problems like this...could it be the ram? I am really second guessing breeding any more sheep!
Howdy!
I'm a new member and my heart aches after reading your post. Did you learn the cause?
 
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