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Everything posted by kajarrel

  1. Great that you're helping these dogs (although I don't think being 80 necessarily rules you out as a dog owner), but if you're only considering people who you know or who know people who you know, why are you posting this in a public list? Makes much more sense to pass the word locally . . . Kim (Who is hot and cranky after putting in fence all day)
  2. This is the "art" of shepherding. You want him to get enough food so that he can suck but you don't want him to be fully satiated so he doesn't nurse. This is because the milk supply is somewhat related to demand - so the baby will need to suck to increase the ewe's milk supply. I like to error on the side of them being a little hungry (once they're warm and strong), assuming the ewe's milk supply isn't compromised. If you can't transition the lamb totally away from the bottle, you should consider culling the ewe. I've learned over time that doing this saves a lot of grief.
  3. Sounds good. One thing I forgot to mention is that cold, undernourished lambs have a characteristic "hunched back" posture. Assuming the ewe has adequate milk, it sounds like he's eventually transition away from the supplements. During the transition, you'll need to bottle feed. I actually like this type of nipple better than any others I've tried for babies with a weak suck: http://reviews.tractorsupply.com/0519/226237399/controlled-flow-lamb-nipple-reviews/reviews.htm Not sure if it's available in Australia. . . Kim
  4. Not seeing the tube, I think I'd stick with your current method. The diameter sounds a little big and you don't want to risk perforating anything with a tube that's too stiff or not correctly designed. I've tubed scads of lambs over the years and only one has "gone in the wrong place." It was in a highly debilitated lamb who I should have given intraperontoneal glucose. So it's a pretty safe (but not failsafe) procedure. I give up to 3 - 4 ounces slowly at a time. A vet should have feeding tubes in stock (to use with other animals, if not lambs). Could your's mail one to you? Kim
  5. That's not really a lot of milk that you're getting from the ewe . . . I would expect to get more so the mother may have a problem - maybe she had mastitis in the past - and this might be the underlying problem. If you've been feeding the lamb every couple hours and it's getting weaker, I suspect you've (now) got something else going on. The reason I suggested the scour halt, which some may disagree with, is that I find that if my lambs are stressed and they don't receive enough colostrum, they tend to scour and die. If I start the scour halt early, I tend not to run into this problem. Often the anorexia precedes the scours (and a sudden drop in temperature signals impending death). Another problem we've got in my area is selenium deficiency, which also can also lead to weak lambs. Can you ask someone local to come and look at the ewe and lamb? Even if they let "nature take its course" (as many large farms here do), they'll still probably be able to look at the ewe and lamb and give you an opinion. Learning when to intervene is really an art (IMHO) rather than an exact science and is best achieved at the side of someone experienced (or happens as you gain experience). Also, you *will* want to develop a good working relaitonship with a vet (to obtain prescription meds or even consult over the phone). At least in my area of the U.S., few vets specialize in sheep. I think *they* appreciate, and I definitely appreciate, having local people who I can bounce ideas off of and share experiences. But I see that you're in Australia so maybe this is not the case. I hope things have gotten better when you read this message. Kim
  6. Is the lamb warm? What is its temperature? How much are you feeding? The lamb should take about 4 Oz every 3 hours. If it's not taking this amount, you'll need to tube feed it. Are you giving colostrum? What do its stools look like? Did you vaccinate the mother prior to delivery with something like Covexin? If not, I'd probably give scour-halt.. ETA: If the ewe is too rough with the baby, I'd probably pull the lamb, at least for a short while while you try to "pull it through." Kim
  7. I have occasionally had ewes go down in late pregnancy because of what I assume is some type of nerve compresion. Once the lambs are born the mother eventually stands. This is not repeated in future prenancies. Again, what I try to do is make sure the babies have enough colostrum and the mother takes care of them once she is standing, although peristent babies and good mothers will nurse babies lying down. Sounds like your group is well on its way. Kim
  8. Take the ewe's temperature. Does she have a temp? Is her bag warm, red or hard/lumpy? If so, she might have mastitis. In that case I'd medicate her with a pain killer and antibiotic as prescribed by your vet. In any case, I'd probably pen this ewe with her lambs. I keep lambs unless absolutely necessary with their mothers. Many times, if you can get them through a litle bump, you can prevent them from becoming bottle lambs. Bonding, in my experience, requires interaction between the ewe AND babies. Some ewes will give up on babies that do not respond. And if the mother was initially down, the babies may have not nursed soon enough, gotten cold and then not "acted right" once she was up. And I'd probably supplement for a day or so (with s much colostrum as ppossible) until the lambs seem to be nursing. Once the lambs are warm, they should start trying to nurse and then a good mother, if she's sound, should start mothering. You'll probably also want to watch closely for milk fever, as Julie mentions and, if she shows neurological/miuscular signs or stops eating, I'd suggest calling the vet or someone more experience with sheep to help you decide what to do. Kim
  9. Well, yes and no. I think they do have an innate drive to balance/control sheep and acute sensitivy to pressure and nuances of sheep behavior, but I do not believe that they innately know how to apply pressure to get the job done in a variety of situations - this needs to be learned. Handlers, I believe, learn this over time too (albeit, at least in my case, a lot more slowly). So, as I've had sheep over the years, I can help a young dog learn. Once they've learned, then they are often right, but there are times where they don't understand my objectives and still "get it wrong." This is where that border collie compulsiveness comes into play when working. Kim
  10. I don't know if you'll end up with a dog fight - I think that really depends a lot upon the dogs - but I will tell you how we're dealing with this same situation right now. We brought in a new Basset hound from rescue a little over a week ago. Sherman, nee Deisel, had been through 3 other homes in the past year before coming to us - and had some "aggression" issues according to the previous owners (which I really haven't seen, yet). When he growls at the other dogs, I read this as "testing/creating boundaries" - I simply push him off the bed (which is where this happens) or, if he's persistent, he goes in his crate. I do not allow this to escalate. It is my job to set the boundaries, not his and not the other dogs. When/if he growls, good things are taken away. He also needs to work for things (meaning he must do something for me) - so no treats without a sit. And he's petted at the same time as the other dogs (not alone) - so good things happen when other dogs are getting attention. This is a very confusing time for a dog - they're NOT part of the pack and they don't understand "the rules" so this is your major role now. Once the rules/boundaries are established or understood, in my experience, dogs become much more comfortable and the growling stops. Kim
  11. I was trying to add this and created a double post: I try to do most procedures in the field and not move mamas with young lambs. Especially very early on (not at 10 days), with my flock of sheep, I have found this can cause mismothering. I also do not castrate my lambs . . . but this works for my market and my flock. Kim
  12. At 10 days old the lambs will not move for a dog - your dog needs to move the mamas and the babies will follow. When they feel threatened, a good mother will often charge. To prevent this, more experienced dogs learn to stay far enough off the ewes, hold their ground and to be patient. There's a space where most ewes will move (on either side of this space they will either not move or charge) and the dog needs to learn where this is. This is also a situation where I help my dogs. If I have a straggler (a young lamb that isn't following the mama well - in this case it's the lamb, not the mama causing the problem), I'll pick it up and the mama will follow. Sometimes I'll help the dog drive the ewes. A really obstinate ewe may need a bite, but I only like to see this as an absolute last resort since, IMHO, the mama is really just doing her job. If your sheep are not dog-trained, you're dealing with two issues and this will probably be better next year when the sheep are used to your dog. But remember that working is a partnership and sometimes you need to get in there and help your dog. This was a mistake I made early on when I had sheep. Kim
  13. Wishing you and your entire family peace. Our thoughts are with you. Kim
  14. SS Cresna, He could be bored but I doubt it since he has bones/toys all over the house. I think he's just got a really high prey drive and we have a lot of "prey." Usually, when the dogs are working, like Roy is, they don't do this (getting after the poultry), but he is different. I feel bad, since he's "house trained" but since he's bound and determined to get out, and able to figure out ways to do it, he's going to be in a crate again when we're not home. Roy is 4 or 5, Julie, and he used to run away if you let your guard down at all. We "cured" that and now the escaping-but-sticking-around is occurring. We had been planning on completing a kennel in the basement for the dogs. This is going to push that project to the top of the list. Mike and I have often talked about whether we need to worry about the dogs jumping off our balconies (they're never left unattended out there, but we do allow them to wander out there when we're on the balcony) - and people have warned about this on the Boards - this has kind of answered THAT question. Kim
  15. We're experienced border collie owners but this has been a rough week. Last weekend, my husband and I came home to find two open doors. Nothing was missing so we thought one of us had been careless and gave it no more thought. On Monday night, we arrived home to open doors again and finally figured out that one of the border collies had learned how to open doors and was letting himself out through the basement and in through the front door. Next morning we also found a dead turkey (our's) that he'd apparently killed during his outing. Throughout the week we barracaded doors and had no further problems. On Friday,however, my husband received a call from the woman who cares for our animals during the day saying that she'd found a screen lying on the ground outside the house. Apparently said dog had jumped through the second floor window screen, dropped 20 feet to the ground and pulled all the feathers out of another turkey. This turkey is thankfully alive as is dog. Dog is, obviously, going back to being crated. And I'm trying to figure out how to stay ahead of this guy. Kim
  16. Hoping for Tommy's speedy return. Kim
  17. Trying to figure out what goes on in those minds is what keeps me hooked. You've captured it perfectly. Kim
  18. We got a govt grant for fencing and irrigation. As others have mentioned, had to pay a percentage and did pay taxes. I didn't run into any problems. Worked with our Grazing Specialist at the SWCD on project plan. Am very grateful for these programs - we never could have afforded the improvements on our own. Hope to get a grant for waste management in future. Have not heard of any programs for procuring land. When we purchased our farmland, we got a loan from FSA. Kim
  19. Oh my goodness, that's just too funny! Wonder what purpose the stick serves? Kim
  20. I taught this about 15 years ago to my dog Zoe. It seems like I did it in steps (using the same command). First teach them to jump up on something. Then teach them to jump on your lap when seated. Then teach them to jump on your lap with knees bent while standing. Then teach them to jump into your arms. The key is CATCHING them when they jump. If you don't do this well, they'll be less inclined to jump into your arms. Kim
  21. I'm so sorry, Nancy . . . Kim
  22. I prefer a smaller working dog but it has nothing to do with working ability (where I've never noticed a difference). Rather, I find it much easier to heft my 28 lb bitch(es) in and out of paddocks and to fit on a 4-wheeler than my larger 40 - 50 lb dogs. Kim
  23. I think you've twisted my words a little implying that if a death was unexplained it was due to lack of due diligence or that these unexplained deaths are somehow routine. By "unexplained death", I meant deaths that were isolated (a handful over 15 years), sudden and that all other causes of the death were ruled out. In other words, they were NOT "flock problems." Ironically, one of the "causes" you list was the one that I experienced -- bracken fern. Back to my major point - I think shepherds need to use the information (indeed any information) keeping in mind what's practical/feasible for their siutation. If you look at the website, it contains much more than just a "list" of toxic plants. There is extensive information about the toxic compounds found in the plants and their effects that will provide context to weigh these factors. Kim
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