How many times have you heard, Sheep came into this world looking for a place to die…. A sick sheep is a dead sheep… If your going to have livestock your going to have deadstock . It seems in the livestock industry sheep are always the Butt of all the jokes… range maggots, etc the list goes on and on. I think in reality the reason the saying a sick sheep is a dead sheep came to be is because they have such a high pain tolerance and they are so cleaver at hiding their sickness, that when they finally do show signs it is often too late for treatment. Here are some things to look for when you do your daily checks that may help in getting treatment started in time.
- Watch for the laggers, when your herd is on the move watch for the ones that can’t keep up or seem to be the last in line , the last one to feed. If they look like they can not keep up with the rest that’s a good indication that something is wrong.
- Watch for the one that is laying down when everyone is up feeding, could be they have gone off feed and just don’t have the strength to stand and graze with the rest
- Watch for the fake eaters… the ones that will go to feed with the rest, will put their head down and nose round in the feed but don’t actually eat anything. That is BIG flag.
- Watch for the ones that take off by themselves and leave the group , they may go stand in the shed by themselves, go off and lay down by themselves if this happens they definitely don’t feel good and don’t want to be bothered.
- Watch for the ones that graze while they are laying down , are they too poor to stand to feed ?
- Watch for the ones that do the “Death Stand” they just stand in the same place usually in a corner don’t eat, don’t drink just stand there.
These are are a few things to watch for, it’s not just a matter checking your sheep, it’s watching them and studying them. The more your watch and understand their mannerisms, their movements, their demeanor the sooner you will recognize a problem and maybe save a sheep.. Happy Sheepherding !