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Skinny Sheep

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1 Skinny Sheep on Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:24 pm

Hillbilly

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My neighbour has 4 sheep that were given to him by a friend. Neither of us know anything about them, other than what to feed them. I think I know a bit more than him, which is still next to nothing.

One of the four, is quite thin in comparison. Not deathly starved looking, but definitely unhealthy skinny.
They have been wormed.

Her feces is not normal. It's more like an excited horse's.
Fibrous, and not really runny, but just clumping together enough to make a somewhat solid pile. No nuggets though.

It looks to me as though she is not processing her food properly.

I have an idea of what I would do, but what are the thoughts of those that actually know sheep?

I'm assuming they have a rumen like a goat? Could it not be functioning?

2 Re: Skinny Sheep on Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:59 pm

uno

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I know nothing about sheep as you are about to find out. Also, how the heck can you tell a sheep is skinny? Aren't they all puffed out with wool?

If I tell my vet I think my horse has teeth problems, the first thing he does is look at the poop. This made me think we had the 'special' vet. However, you can tell a lot about the dental state of your horse by looking at how well masticated the hay/roughage is. Now I know sheep have different dentition, only one set of teeth, not two? Could this be a tooth problem?

3 Re: Skinny Sheep on Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:14 pm

Hillbilly

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One thing I know, is goats process almost anything they will eat. Even seeds are digested. I'm thinking sheep are the same? Nothing gets through that system chewed up or not.
This is quite unlike horses.

4 Sheep on Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:29 am

tlc

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Alph alfa/grass mixed hay they need to eat 3-4% of their body weight per day roughly. You can feed some grains to but no more than 1lb per day per sheep.start small and increase slowly with grain though.

5 Re: Skinny Sheep on Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:08 am

Fowler

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Does he know the age? You can tell by the teeth.

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Older ewes can get skinny, especially if they have lost teeth.

6 Re: Skinny Sheep on Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:41 am

Hillbilly

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They're all just over two years old.

Its definitely not a food shortage. The other three look like they might need a date with Jenny Craig.

My guess is some sort of digestive tract issue.

7 Re: Skinny Sheep on Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:19 am

Fowler

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Not much comes up for skinny young sheep. If it's worms, he might have already fixed it.

Johne's disease causes weight loss and may cause diarrhea.

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8 Re: Skinny Sheep on Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:35 am

Hidden River

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Fowler wrote:Not much comes up for skinny young sheep. If it's worms, he might have already fixed it.

Johne's disease causes weight loss and may cause diarrhea.

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I was thinking this as well, johnes disease.

There is a paste we buy that is called Stockmans choice, we had a ewe that was in good condition but would always have the poo you describe. It was caused by an off balance in her rumen, she was like it since we bought her as a two year old. Finally tried this, it is just a probiotic and vitamin mix, and she does very well on it. We find over winter with the roughage she doesnt need it but come spring with the rich grasses she gets off balance again and so we give it to her once a month and she seems to have nice sheep poo pellets again.


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9 Re: Skinny Sheep on Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:43 am

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Last edited by HigginsRAT on Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:12 am; edited 1 time in total

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10 Re: Skinny Sheep on Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:23 pm

Hillbilly

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Thanks for all the info.

I am leaning towards the problematic rumen, which was my original thought. Neighbours friend has had sheep for many years, and had a few too many, so gave them to neighbour.
He said that one has always been thinner, so it might just need some help in the diet department. Heck if I know, but I will pass the info along, and probably end up being the one catching it (they are skittish as heck).

I will mention the Stockmans, and go from there, thanks.

11 Re: Skinny Sheep on Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:39 pm

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Protocols were always something to work towards, but too expensive and not very practical for me, I bought rams, including from Illena and other closed flocks, but rarely ewes, the animals you raise yourself always do better as they have developed immunities to whatever issues you have and are adjusted to their farm of origin's management and environment. I would strongly suggest culling the skinny ewe, she will likely always be a poor doer anyway and never pay her way, will pass it on to her offspring if she breeds, and moreover will suffer along the way.

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