Finnish landrace sheep with facial eczema

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4 years 8 months ago #547401 by maringi
Thought I would update you all.
We put two of the worst ewes to dog tucker, and had them post-mortemed. Interestingly, even tho they looked in dreadful condition and had major facial sun damage, the meat was good, there was no sign of liver damage and they were both in lamb! The inspector even said their condition wasn’t bad at all despite how dreadful they looked.
Fast forward to lambing, and I now have the problem of them having triplets and then the stress of lambing and feeding babies seems to be pushing them over the edge, and the first few have looked like they have milk fever, with chattering teeth and staggering about.
So hopefully we can get them through and keep the lambs (which are Finnish x Wiltshire) but I could be bottle feeding 36 lambs if it goes badly!

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4 years 8 months ago #547402 by LongRidge
If there was no liver damage then it was very unlikely that Facial Eczema was the cause of the problem. Facial Eczema caused by Pithomycese fungus. and poisons in some plants do cause liver damage that result in the facial wool and skin falls off. Other plants can cause photo-sensitivity without damaging the liver. Real Pithomycese caused Facial Eczema makes the meat stink while raw and while being cooked, and tastes quite unpleasant unless hidden by lots of spices.
Sheep DO get Milk Fever and Grass Staggers at lambing, and are best treated by injecting with calcium borogluconate. The ones I have treated have responded amazingly well.
With the Finn in the breed mix, you are likely to have a high proportion of twins, triplets and maybe quads. I would be feeding all those with Triplet Sheep nuts from Farmlands by now. Start at a cupful each per day and work up to 250 g each per day over a couple of weeks. Because the ewes are not in fantastic condition because of their sunburn, the lambs will need supplementary feeding. I try to keep all the multiples with the ewe and supplement them all rather than taking one or two off. Ewes milk is much better than powder milk, and we have found that our bottlefed lambs have a much shorter life than ewe-reared ones.

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4 years 8 months ago #547404 by maringi
Thanks for that - I didn’t know about the triplets pellets, i’ll start them on them tomorrow. They are on really good grass so hopefully we can get back to normal.

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4 years 8 months ago #547416 by LongRidge
The problem with really good grass is that if it is full of water then the sheep has to eat a lot of it to get enough butrients. If the ewes have not been trained to pellets it might take quite a while to get all of them eating it and not having one or two hogging the whole lot, which will make them sick until the gut bacteria has got used to it.

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4 years 8 months ago #547423 by maringi
Hmm, good point. Went into Farmlands looking for triplet pellets, only 2 bags in all of the country and they are in Temuka apparently. So they are trying to source us some. Feeding normal pellets in the meantime. Really appreciate your expert advice thanks.

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4 years 8 months ago #547424 by VioletFarmer
Having supplemented 2x lots of triplets last year, I will be taking off any odd sized 3rd lambs this lambing. I found it less hassle with feeding my 6 orphans 4 & then 3 times daily, than supplementing the 2 lots on the ewe overall. Lucky my ewes are in good knick right now, even with little grass here in South Canterbury. Like others have said, supplementing your ewes asap, will hopefully avoid further issues as they are already a bit stretched. We found some molasses moozli type ewe pellets last season worked well, and they didn't take long to work out they liked them. We fed into plastic troughs to avoid wastage, just start out with a small amount- as one of our ewes started to choke last year as she tried to guts hers- not fun trying to think of how to heimlich a 75kg wooly mammoth. Best of luck.

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4 years 8 months ago #547431 by LongRidge
VF, that is what we did until we found out that the extra work did help. Unfortunately ram lambs are born much more stupid than ewe lambs, so we have had a huge lot of pet wethers over the years compared to pet ewes, In our flock of 50 we have 7 pet wethers that will live here until they die. Fortunately, there is a fortune to be made in coarse Suffolk wool (yeah, right ...)

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