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sheep with poopy bums  RSS feed

 
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The sheep have poopy bums. Why?

I put the sheep on their summer place three weeks ago. Two weeks ago, they started getting poopy bum problem. Cotswold have the worst problem, with the young cotswold lambs having it most.

less than two weeks ago their bum started being poopy. If it was the pasture, I thought it would be the first day. Also, I expect everyone would have a problem, but it is mostly the young lambs (old lambs are fine) and pure breed adult sheep.  Not the mixed. 

They have hay and grain supplementing feed. Normal minerals for our location. 

Weather changed at the time of the poopy. We went from hot to hot and wet to hot and not so wet. It was at the start of the hot and not so wet that the poop started. 

No new animals on the farm except a wild dear that got in (hopefully it will be deer sausage soon) with the sheep. 

Under the eyes looks fine, if only slightly pale. We applied worm meds to the lambs with no change in poop. Theory is we don't want to use worm meds if we don't have to so we only gave to some to see if there was difference. like a control group.

We moved them back to winter paster today to discover if it's something in the summer pasture that is poisoning them. 


Need suggestions what else can be causing bad poo and how to make it better. 
 
master steward
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What does it mean that a sheep has a poopy bottom? I will admit to having little experience with sheep, but I was at a local farm/petting zoo that had sheep, and the lambs all had their tails coated in poop. I figured it was just how lambs were--all the sheep looked a little bedraggled, but they didn't have that much room and only one paddock, so there was probably a lot of poop on the ground, too.

Does having a poopy tale indicate unhealthy sheep, or maybe just diarrhea related to food consumed? The same farm/petting zoo had WAY too many chickens for their enclosure, and there were many that were way too henpecked, so it wouldn't surprise me that the sheep might have been unhealthy, too. There were at least four adult sheep and 4 lambs on a plot that was probably 4,000 sqft, if that...
 
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I get this generally...but not always...when the lambs go from bottle fed, or tube feeding then go back to their mother. It does not happen a lot, maybe 1 out of 20 lambs, but it sure sucks dealing with it. I got a strong stomach but even for my wife and I...it is one of the worst tasks on a sheep farm to deal with.

I do assume though that you dock tails, and are talking about lambs and not ewes?
 
Ray Bunbury
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It is two lambs, two adult ewes and one adult ram that have teh problem.  Their tails are docked

 
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A 'poopy' bum is a bad thing for sheep.

  • it is the symptom of a greater health issue
  • it can cause a really nasty death because it attracts flies who lay their maggots in the poop and start eating the inside of the sheep.


  • Cotswold are supposedly sensitive to nitrogen and high moisture grass.  I wonder if that's causing it.  Good idea moving them back to the old pasture.  It will help you get an idea if it's environmental or something more serious. 
     
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    This is the reason why sheep typically have their tails removed, and all the wool is sheered around their bum.
     
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    Wool sheep are normally docked and the wool sheared off around the tail to prevent feces from fouling around their anus. But wool sheep are an artificially selected animal with hair that grows continuously and doesn't shed, making for a nasty sanitation environment requiring further human intervention to remedy the situation.  Hair sheep don't need to be docked since the hair around their tail resembles that of their wild ancestors. Hair sheep will typically waggle their tail as they defecate to encourage the feces pellets to drop off cleanly so I don't like to dock them to deprive them of their "wiper".
     
    r ranson
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    Hair sheep are okay.  The ones I kept were more prone to disease and diet than any woolly sheep I've had.  They are the only sheep I've had to give antibiotics and regular wormer.  For me, the primary value in the sheep is the wool. Lambs and meat sales are just there to cover basic costs with our local meat prices being so low.

    Docking... hm, I have a lot to say on the topic.  It is probably going to drive this conversation in the wrong direction.  Trying to keep it on topic. 

    Docking does more good than harm.  It doesn't mean I like it, but I do it for breeds that need it because the alternative is horrific.    That said, not every sheep needs to be docked.  Many of the older breeds don't need docking, like Black Welsh Mountain, Icelandic, Shetlands, basically the Finn descendants.  They either have short tails, non-woolly legs, or have the good sense to lift up their tails high enough to do their business.  They are also less sensitive to changes in diet so less likely to get scours.  I'm guessing that some of Ray's flock might be this kind of sheep.  Maybe that's why they aren't showing symptoms. 

     
    Ray Bunbury
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    Thank you people. 

    Man came today to see the sheep.  He said it was diet and common this time of year.  Because we changed the pasture.  Don't give them any treatment except backing soda free choice.

    feeling better about things.  Was worried everyone would die.  But the man says that they are healthy.  He works with many local farms for sheep health.  I trust him. 
     
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    Did the man say it was because the protein content of the new pasture is high with the new growth?
     
    Ray Bunbury
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    denise ra wrote:Did the man say it was because the protein content of the new pasture is high with the new growth?



    no.  not protine. 

    it was moisture and nitrogen.  That's why cotswold got more effect.  they are sensitive to nitrogen in feed. 

    when we change back to summer pasture, we won't give alfalfa in the hay like we do at the winter pasture.  this should make the simptoms smaller. 
     
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