Monday, June 4, 2012

Deworming Sheep

A couple of weeks ago we dewormed the sheep. Every year we struggle to beat the intestinal parasites that easily kill sheep. It's mostly a summer battle, as the sheep pick up worms from their own fecal matter as they graze. We rotationally graze, which means we are constantly moving them from pasture to pasture. But we haven't been able to completely keep ahead of the worms just by rotationally grazing.

So every so often we run all the sheep into a pen in the barn. The lambs get caught by hand (which is a good workout). We dewormed every lamb this time, giving them oral medication using a syringe without a needle. Open wide! The ewes get run up the chute.


We only deworm the ewes that look like they need it. We pull back their eyelids and look at the inside. If the eyelids are nice and pink, and the ewe looks healthy, she gets a pass. But if the eyelids look white, this is an indication that she is anemic and has a heavy worm load. Meds, please. Again, orally.


This time, we also took time to look at the ewes' feet. Those who needed it had their hooves trimmed.


No, it doesn't hurt. It's very much like trimming your toenails, only in a much more awkward position.


As we released each sheep, the ewes and their lambs took the time to find each other. After everyone was through the chute, they all went back out to the pasture.

We try to do this on a cool day, as the extra milling about is enough stress on the sheep. They don't need the added stress of extreme heat.

1 comment:

  1. A good post Lona! We fight the same thing here, even with plenty of pastures to rotate. Also the past few years, we fight coccidiosis...thought I was ahead of it this year, till the torrential rains put us behind on barn cleaning (I think that contributes to the problem)

    Here's to healthy sheep!!!

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