Problems with birthing this year

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 won't 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!
Have you read "Natural Sheep Care" by Pat Colby?
She suggests that most issues are nutrition-related. Baymule mentioned Dolomitic lime (a.k.a. Dolomite) which is the foundation of a mineral mix (lick) recipe Colby suggests.
At the risk of feedback (pease share), copper is important. I recently attended a lambing seminar at U of Ky
who use a Cu solution for a drench. If there is a vet school near you, maybe invite them to visit.
Soil gets poor if not maintained/balanced. Poor soil produces lower nutrient levels in pasture and forage crops, hay, etc. If soil health goe down, herd health will follow without supplementation.
Our prayers and tears for your difficult season. **Please don't give up!
 
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ewellons

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I have been giving the lambs Vitamin B12 complex and Selenium and Vitamin E complex. They have been given the second dose of Banamine and Nuflor and have seen a huge difference!! The only problem now is that the ewe lamb looks like she is constantly trying to urinate . She is urinating but squats a lot. Temp is down and they both are putting weight on their leg and running around like normal lambs :):)
 

Jeff n Jenny

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I have been giving the lambs Vitamin B12 complex and Selenium and Vitamin E complex. They have been given the second dose of Banamine and Nuflor and have seen a huge difference!! The only problem now is that the ewe lamb looks like she is constantly trying to urinate . She is urinating but squats a lot. Temp is down and they both are putting weight on their leg and running around like normal lambs :):)
YEAH!!!
We have used a product from Australia called VAM (in a paste form) at any sign of trouble. I bought it through PetsMegaStore https://www.pets-megastore.com.au/index.php?route=product/search&search=VAM
It is a Vitamin and Mineral mix developed around high-performance animals. A little spendy but worth it.
I'll do some digging. I've read about that symptom before...
Make sure your girls are well hydrated, well water or stream is way better than municipal water.
It will b a couple of hours before I come back
 

Jeff n Jenny

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Quick thought:
Probably not Urinary Calculi as it's more prone to the boys,
and avoided when the ratio of calcium to phosphorus is 2:1.
Natural Cider Vinegar is a good preventative measure.
For Vitamins A&E we/ve used cold-processed Cod liver oil.
How old is she? What is pee stream like? Color? How often squatting, how often peeing?
Any sign of pain? Any other observations?
Are there any boys nearby when she squats (common submissive behavior in ewes out of estrous)
It can be a nervous behavior if her environment has changed.
It can be serious**
a couple of links:
 

ewellons

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I am thinking it is a nervous thing. Only really does it when we are in the pen with her. That is a very interesting read. Thank you!
 

Hipshot

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Have you had anyone do a Necropsy ?or fical floats ? Barber pole worms do that to goats .Also hoof rot .
 

Ridgetop

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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.
Momto6Ls' experience sounds a lot like yours, Ewellons.

Since the lambs improved after giving selenium and vitamin B, it sounds like that may have been the problem. They were probably getting lower and lower in selenium every year until finally they simply couldn't manage the stress and energy output involved in lambing. It sounds like you will need to be giving selenium boosters every year, which os easy to do along with vaccinations. If you have more ewes to lamb, I suggest you give them a dose now before they lamb.

I think you may have the problem solved. Did you ever get any tests done by the vet?
 

Jeff n Jenny

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I am thinking it is a nervous thing. Only really does it when we are in the pen with her. That is a very interesting read. Thank you!
I hope that is the whole of her problem.
Sneaking around and watching from a distance will reveal much.
Also, when an animal has a rough start in this world, it may be more nervous, high-strung, frightened, timid, etc.
As we attempt to manage our time, still only 24 hours in a day, we can move quickly through routines and chores.
I always try to create a calm and safe environment for new-lings, whatever they are.
Sheep are especially timid/flighty, a little like white-tailed deer.
We started off with a ram and 2-ewes. One ewe (Gertrude) had "personality," naturally curious, friendly, maybe naive. The other, Ruby, was very watchful, always alert and maybe a bit suspicious.
Junior was more like a dog than a ram. I broke them to lead and they could all be handled with ease.
We add another ewe, a Dorper with triplets to our Katahdins. We had a busy lambing season 2019 with 6 lambs born. One set of twins was an accident (we didn't want that late-season ewe lamb bread that year. She was small and did well lambing but her utter was small for twins. The first lamb, a ram, was slurping up most of the milk. So I was jumping in the jug holding one for the other, a ewe, to nurse. Then I started to bring a bottle to help suppliment. I was too bold with my methods and the ewe lamb became afraid of me. When I would come around, she wanted to hide under momma. It took months to build/recover trust. I'm pretty sure that her nervousness was a product of early (slight) malnourishment.
We look forward to hearing good things from your adventure :)
 
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