Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dairy Sheep Shelters

In general, adult sheep can cope with many types of weather thanks to their insulating wool. Sheep do best living outside on pasture rather than confined inside a stuffy barn that could be filled with ammonia fumes and pathogens. However, sheep also benefit from having a place to take shelter from inclement weather ranging from rain, wind, heat and direct sun. Lambs can become easily chilled during foul weather. Shelter can be open or closed and provide protection against predators as well. The sided shelters with a small area set=up as a lambing pen are really handy. At Karras Farm we find that shielding the animals from Northern wind is important. Proper ventilation is critical and it's preferably high up to prevent low drafts particularly with lambs. lastly, be sure to have clean, dry bedding to promote a disease free environment.

God bless our Veterans and our wonderful sheep!

Andy Karras
Karras Farm

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sore Mouth - Awassi Dairy Sheep

Sore Mouth ( Contagious Ecthyma )

Sore Mouth is a viral disease that affects the lips, mouth, nose and teats of sheep. It can be spread to humans so treating infected animals requires careful handling. Always wear gloves and do not place your hands around your face after working with infected animals. Be sure to was your hands thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap.

Sore Moth forms blisters which rupture and cause prolific, scabby lesions around the mouth area. This is highly contagious and spreads rapidly to other sheep that have not been vaccinated or previously exposed. The virus is resistant and durable , it will survive in the environment for extended periods of time until it finds a host.

Applying Tincture of Iodine to the lesions will dry them up and may speed healing. An antibiotic ointment can be applied to aid in softening the scabs and controlling bacterial invaders.

A vaccine is available which is applied by scarifying a small area of skin then applying the live virus onto the area with a tool provided. Once Sore Mouth has occurred, all lambs should be vaccinated at a few days of age. Do not use the vaccine if the flock has never been exposed to the disease.