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Thursday, May 8, 2008


Thoughts.......just some thoughts. Spring is a wonderful time of year but also stressful for animals and their keepers. Identifying problems can be difficult at best. A friend had a ewe she believes had a thiamine deficiency....some call is sheep polio. No, it's not really polio but it is a call name, much like goat polio, related to thiamine deficiency. The problem with animals is that there are so many illnesses with similar presentations, how can you possibly know what to give them to make them better! It's worthy of pulling your hair out, especially when it's a favorite animal that you care for or love so much. From dogs to baby chicks to lambs and ewes......yes, not only pulling your hair out but also getting grey hairs over it also. When you don't have a good vet to fall back on, you search the internet. I like going to the Merck Vet Manual online, but sometimes even that is vague. Then I start working my way through different species....if I can't find it under sheep, I try goat, then dairy cow. Lots and lots of money has been spent on research for dairy cattle, but not for goats or sheep, so once in a while you find relative tidbits there that are very useful. Goats - well, there is Goat 911...yes, an emergency network of people you can call on for advice in an emergency. It's better to try something, rather than nothing... sometimes you throw the whole kitchen sink at them to try and save them. You'll not know which part 'in the sink' actually worked, but the end result is what matters and if you saved the animal, you did good. Up here right now there are some people with goats battling Floppy Kid Syndrome. Others are fighting a particularly virulant bacterial infection and the goat kids are lingering but there's always a chance one might not make it. It's we are in one of the richest countries in the world and our sheep and goat research is mediocre at best. Australia spent more than we ever did on sheep, the middle east more on goats than we have here in the US. Heck, most drugs for cattle aren't even marked for use in goats or sheep - even the drug companies don't think we're worth the money for research. Amazing, isn't it? If you have a sick animal, just keep searching the net - find what you can, then ask your vet if any of it makes sense for your particular problem. Ask other shepherds, ask the lists, always seek help if you need to save the life of an animal you own and care for. Share what you find. Too often we are ashamed of loosing an animal, we feel we failed miserably. But we all need to share, if we can do so we may save another's animal. It is better to loose when a group of you have tried to save an animal than to loose all by yourself feeling that you never tried hard enough or that you didn't do enough to save it. It is a heavy burden to loose an animal you love, even heavier to try to go it alone. Seek out your peers and ask for suggestions, it's all us humans have.....the support and knowledge of others. We CAN do it together!

Just thoughts for the day......

oh, yes, we've had more lambs to our unregistered far my unregistered flock has produced 2 ewe lambs for every ram lamb. How did I get so lucky this year???!!

And I'm waiting on my Peeps girls to start lambing...I see sunken loins; nice filling udders; and they want my attention too. This is good.... I can't wait!!

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