Hello and thank you for visiting the Awassi Sheep blog. This blog is dedicated to the history of Awassi fat tail sheep. I'm Andy Karras a fourth generation sheep breeder and owner of Karras Farm in North Carolina. We specialize in East Friesian sheep bloodline breeding but I have always had an affection for the Awassi Fat tail sheep. This is an informative blog on Awassi sheep and general sheep breeding facts.
Navel Illness is an infection which can be caused by any number of organisms that gain entrance to the lambs body through the umbilical cord shortly after birth. They develop into serious illness, usually within an few days. By treating the umbilical cord with Iodine asap after birth, and making sure the lamb nurses its mother within the first hour, you can immunize the danger of Naval Ill. A second dousing with Iodine twelve hours later is a good practice. Clean bedding in the lamb pen will lessen the chance of infection.
A constipated lamb usually stands rather humped up, looking uncomfortable with no signs of droppings or a few very hard ones. Sometimes the lamb will grind its teeth and if the condition worsens the lamb may enter into convulsions or die without proper medication. Administer two tablespoons mineral oil for a small lamb under two weeks old. For lambs over one month old, give ¼ to ½ cup of mineral oil.
There is an external kind of stoppage that is fairly common in very young lambs, usually under a week old. The feces collect and dry into a mass under the tail plugging up the lamb. If not noticed or corrected the lamb will die. Be sure to clean off any visible mass with a warm damp rag, disinfect the area if irritated and lightly apply mineral oil to prevent feces from sticking. Check all lambs on a regular basis. This is another good reason to keep ewes with newborn lambs in a separate pen for the first 3-4 days allowing for easy inspection.
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Karras Farm is now taking deposits for East Friesian Sheep and Assaf F1Sheep.
Karras Farm offers some of the very best dairy sheep genetics available in the United States. Over many years of cultivating highly sought after dairy sheep characteristics, Karras Farm has become a leading provider of dairy sheep in the United States.
Please take a moment to view our blogs and website. We are here to help with all your dairy sheep questions, so feel free to call or email us if we can assist you in any way.
There are many circumstances which can lead a ewe to abort a pregnancy.
Many abortions are caused from environmental conditions that are controllable. Some of these conditions include moldy feed with mold spores infecting the placenta and reducing nourishment to the fetus. Injury is often a cause of aborting pregnancy. A ram may run with pregnant ewes and bump them away from hay or feed. Narrow doorways where sheep rush through for feed can result in bumping or other injury causing stress resulting in abortion. Ewes being chased by dogs or other wild animals can be detrimental to the pregnancy cycle.
Bacterial disease like Vibriosis can invade the uterus, placenta and fetus during late pregnancy. Enzootic abortion of ewes is caused by an organism called Chlamydia which causes late term abortions, still birth and weak lambs. It is an obligate parasite (doesn’t live freely in the environment) of sheep and spread to susceptible ewes by contact with aborting ewes infected fetal membrane, uterine discharge or a dead fetus.
Toxoplasmosis is a microscopic protozoan (coccidium) of cats. In unnatural hosts such as sheep and other species including humans, the organism causes infection of the brain, eyes, uterus, fetal membrane and the fetus itself. Infections occur when cats defecate, leaving the infectious organism on hay, grain or other food consumed by sheep. Ground-up grain is a common target because it’s much like a ready-made sand pile.
Since abortion symptoms are all very similar, it may take analysis from your livestock vet to identify the exact cause. Closed herds with strict sanitation and proper vaccinations will lower abortion rates and improve the overall health of your flock.
This disease is commonly called “overeating”. It causes sudden death of lambs that are eating well and growing rapidly. Enterotoxaemia is caused by the bacteria Clostridium perfringeus. which is normally found in the intestinal tracts of sheep. When large quantities of high energy feeds, such as grain or milk are ingested, the bacteria grow rapidly producing a toxin absorbed by the gut which kills the lamb.
Lambs cannot spread the bacteria. This organism is normally present in lambs but the large intake of high energy feeds is what enables the rapid bacterial growth and production of toxins.
There are two different types; type C, which tends to occur in very young lambs and type D, which normally occurs in lambs that are being fed grain while still nursing or even after weaning when they are fed ratios high in concentrates.
Excellent vaccines are available and should be used in all sheep. Ewes should be vaccinated with Clostridium Perfringe type C and D toxoid prior to lambing. This will provide immunity to the newborn lamb through the ewe’s colostrums. Lambs should be vaccinated at birth, six weeks later and once more when weaning or when feed ratios are high in protein.
Here is a video we took yesterday at Karras Farm administering the Covexin 8 vaccine to our dairy sheep.
For the purpose of the video we used a syringe to administer the vaccine. Most smaller dairy sheep operations would provide the medicine in this fashion. With larger flocks we recommend investing in a vaccine gun which greatly reduces the time needed for the vaccination process.
Thank you for stayin tuned to Karras Farm and have a fantastic 2013!!