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clipping feet on bred ewes


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Do people have any oppinion on flipping bred ewes over for a nail clip? The ram has been in for a little over a month. The particular ewe in question was marked 14 days ago. I know it's OK to clip later through the pregnancy. I'm asking because a friend had her sheep sheared a month before they were due to lamb last year and had over a 50% premature rate or born dead. Don't know for sure if it had anything to do with being on end for an extended period of time or not.


Should I let this ewe settle a bit more or does it not really have any affect?

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I'd give it until they are about six weeks out and then go ahead and do it if they need it really badly and you can do it without it being a rodeo. A heavily pregnant ewe with bad feet can cause worse problems than a slipped pregancy.


It's not tipping that does it, it's rough handling. Even a heavily pregnant ewe can be safely tipped and briefly and gently handled - I've had to do it for emergency treatment of fence or brush injuries or to crutch in years we did that - and had no lambing problems.


I usually trim everybody a couple weeks before running in the ram or the first week or so. I got them late this year and ended up trimming while the rams were servicing which is not so great - there's a few that I'm pretty sure were ouchy and not standing well their first cycle.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi. Couldn't find anywhere to introduce myself so *waves*


You should be fine to trim your ewe's feet at any stage in pregnancy, as long as it doesn't involve being rough with her or running her around in circles till she collapses. Sheep are pretty robust and it's unlikely that the trauma of foot trimming would cause her to abort.


With your friend, losing 50% of lambs would warrant a visit from the vet to rule out bacteria or disease-based causes. Also, did the shearer kneel on the ewes' belly? Here, ewes are often shorn a month pre-lamb and it rarely causes any complications to the pregnancy.


However, moving the ewes to a new paddock after shearing (with different grasses etc) could cause a chemical imbalance that might cause an abortion, I suppose. Or a sudden change in temperature - but this is very unlikely. Did she get the vet to test any of the ewes or dead lambs?

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Hi All,


My shearer has always sheared my bred ewes one month before they popped!! I never had a problem. She was gentle and the ewes did not fuss. She also did the hooves too.


With the 50% loss I would have checked into *abortion diease*


Here are some excellent articles






I have talke to Dr. Goelz on several occasions and he is very knowledgable and helpful. He knows his sheep!!



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Wow, I missed the 50% slipped lambs part. I would also look into abortion disease.


I'm probably dealing with vibrio here. We've had a slowly increasing rate of lamb losses over the years and last year I had a couple actually born obviously early. I could not send off any lambs because they were all born our coldest week and they froze solid before we found them!


If we have any abortions this spring I'll be sending off a fetus - meanwhile through process of elimination I figure it is vibrio and have vaccinated accordingly. Our feed and hay is clean and stored airtight - no cats have access to the fields and the dogs kill any rodents they find. It's not chlamydia because I've had some repeat offenders (but not in a row).


What finally made me think of abortion was remembering that one dry year I had the ewes completely drylotted on a terrible crappy hay and free choice lamb feed that contained Rumesin supplement. I didn't lose a single lamb that year, though I thought the opposite would be true with the horrible conditions. Though everyone was in very nice condition - I just thought there was something intrinsically bad about not giving them grass. :rolleyes:


Anyway, I happened to read this summer that vibrio is often responsive to Rumesin and the light dawned. All my ewes got vaccinated immediately and got a booster right before the ram went in. We'll see how we do this year. Of course, I'll also be repeating the dry lot experience but with non-medicated feed this time.

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I'd agree that with that many slipped lambs, there's more at play than rough shearing. I don't think even the roughest shearer could kill that many lambs.


I'd also agree with tatnja -- the main consideration is to handle the ewes gently at this stage of pregnancy. You're not really talking about aborting at this stage, but more likley a failure to implant if you're rough. Tipping in and of itself shouldn't be a problem.

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