Good afternoon everyone.
In April I obtained 5 ewes with 2 lambs each and placed them into a strictly organic setting. These ewes had been in a fairly conventional ag setting, lots of hay and medicated feed.
The ten lambs have all done well, and six of them are now in a freezer or sold. the remaining four are all doing well.
They are on grass, moved weekly. They eat it down about 50% before we move them. They have never been on the same patch twice.
The consume a good deal of mineral block with selenium in the mix.
Sheep had been raised successfully on this land a few years ago, and I am told that they never lost a lamb.
About 6 weeks after the ewes came, another ewe and a ram were added from a conventional organic system.
The new ewe lambed twins about a month and a half ago, but one lamb died one day one. The second lamb died a couple weeks ago.
Then we lost a ewe giving birth. Found her under a mesquite tree with a lamb half in, half out. That was tough, she was one of my favorites.
Then we had a new set of twins born. Both were a bit premature, but one looked good, and the little one was bottle fed. Both died within a few days.
Minnie (Yes I named one Minnie) gave birth to a lovely lamb about 2 weeks ago. He died last night.
Then we had one born on Tuesday morning, dead by Thursday.
I cannot tell you how I feel, short of shell shocked.
Please help me diagnose the problem. What could I be facing here?
From everything I know about sheep it sounds like the new lambs didn't get the required colostrum from the ewe. Also Lambs do just up and die, but usually it can be traced back to something wrong with their diet (the colostrum is missing is the most normal cause).
At this point I would get the ewe's checked out by the Vet. It is looking like something is wrong with their milk and the only way to know is for them to see the Vet. There are several things that could be the cause/contributing to this mortality rate.
R Hasting,When you introduce new animals into your herd how long do you isolate the newbees for observation, before they are allowed to interact with the established group? It may just be that the new animals had some type of virus that caused the deaths. Isolation can be with a pen as little as 20 meters of open space between any contact areas. Were your animals ingesting any White clover at the time of the deaths? Where were you at the time of the births? I don't mean to talk down about vets but the majority don't know squat about sheep or goats. That was told to me by my vet that had recently graduated from CO State. The only reason she came to help me is because she actually liked the critters. The call costs more than the animals worth. You will get more information from some of the production books that are available. DE works well for worming but getting the buggers to eat it is the trick. While I'm on a rant, only about 10-15% of all llamas are worth a damn as a guard animal, been there done that. Hope all is well with you otherwise. Mahalo