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Sheep eating elderberries?

Discussion in 'Feeding Time - Sheep' started by Childwanderer, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. Mar 6, 2018
    Childwanderer

    Childwanderer Overrun with beasties

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    I have 4 Gulf Coast Native sheep currently on pasture with free choice minerals and salt, supplemented by hay in the evening. All but the 3-month-old ewe lamb (who nurses frequently but eats with the others, too) have soft stools. The manure has been slimy and green as well as dog-stool like, but for the past couple of days more black and clumpy. I had noticed clumpy stools among the regular pebbles for some time now, but the problem has gotten worse since the 28th.
    Diet Changes:
    I let them out of their daily rotated paddock system 2/28 due to mud concentration, allowing them to graze freely and incidentally access a stand of wild elderberry.
    The pasture has been getting drier since then, and Spring has given the sheep lusher grazing than they had all winter.
    They had slat for some time, but I added mixed minerals last week.
    I stopped feeding alfalfa pellets this Sunday, thinking it might be too rich together with the new Spring growth.

    What does it mean that the lamb is fine? Would elderberry leaves cause soft stools? Is this just a temporary Spring problem as they adjust to better grazing?

    I have pulled a good deal of elderberry bushes and shoots up this morning; I hope it's not too little too late.
     
  2. Mar 6, 2018
    Childwanderer

    Childwanderer Overrun with beasties

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    I found this forum posting suggesting that elderberries can actually be used as goat forage. Might be relevant?
     
  3. Mar 6, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    Pick the elderberries, let them dry and make a syrup. It is good medicine for flu.
     
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  4. Mar 6, 2018
    Childwanderer

    Childwanderer Overrun with beasties

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    I plan to! My mother is transplanting the bushes I pulled up into our garden where the livestock can't get 'em.
     
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  5. Mar 6, 2018
    BoboFarm

    BoboFarm Loving the herd life

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    We buy elderberry gummies and give one to the kids (human) daily. We take one or two depending on how we're feeling. Since the kids have been taking it they've been catching daycare bugs a lot less :)
     
  6. Mar 10, 2018
    Girlies' Mum

    Girlies' Mum Overrun with beasties

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    Our sheep almost always get looser stools for a while (usually a bit greener than normal) when first put on lush grass after the winter. Might it just be that?

    I spent some time looking up whether elderberry was poisonous to sheep a while ago as there are some elderberry plants in the pasture my sheep graze and I have seen them eat the leaves etc. many times over the last 5 years with no apparent problem. Most people on the web seem to say that their sheep eat it fine and don't come to any harm (accidental small holder site and others). However, one website says its really horrible: https://csuvth.colostate.edu/poisonous_plants/Plants/Details/32.
    They don't say how much they have to eat though so I SUSPECT(!) it is a huge amount, which is why we don't see a problem. (I'm not a vet). Either way, they go on about breathing problems, not poop problems. I am neurotic about my beloved sheeps' health and I can't get too worried about it.

    More importantly (I think), I made lovely elderberry syrup last year very easily - ice cold with water it is a lovely cordial when it is hot, it can be frozen and can go into ice cubes for flavour. Elderberry wine is also very nice if you know how to make it!
     
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  7. Mar 14, 2018
    Childwanderer

    Childwanderer Overrun with beasties

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    Okay, I'm seeing more normal pellets now, but my mama ewe Cherry passed some mushy green dung with blood in it today. Later this evening, I found more pellet-like droppings with blood on them. I feel like I should be panicking (!!?). Her eye membranes are pink, she has a good appetite and is behaving normally (alert, following me for feed, hanging out with other sheep.)
     
  8. Mar 14, 2018
    Childwanderer

    Childwanderer Overrun with beasties

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    Could this be some kind of worm problem? Should I deworm? My usual practice is only to deworm when the eye membranes are pale (have only had to do it once), but this is something else!!:hu:barnie
     
  9. Mar 15, 2018
    Girlies' Mum

    Girlies' Mum Overrun with beasties

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    I was advised to treat for coccidiosis immediately when one of my sheep had blood in their droppings. This needs a "coccidiostat" not a dewormer which controls the disease while the sheep develops immunity. It is usually in lambs, but my sheep was fully grown and the vet still said give it. "The books" say that the sheep is usually unwell (mine wasn't). I doubt it is cocci but I would hate for it to be that and not to mention it as my sheep's symptoms were the same - very well in herself, blood in stools. Might be worth discussing the possibility with a vet.
     
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  10. Mar 15, 2018
    Childwanderer

    Childwanderer Overrun with beasties

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    Thank you! I'll look into that. I checked droppings this morning and saw no blood or green mush. I just moved the sheep this morning into a large, green pasture just fenced up yesterday, so at least they'll be in a cleaner environment. The affected ewe's lamb seems fine and hasn't had any scours, thankfully.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018