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January – Outbreak!

Just when you start congratulating yourself on how well you’ve got your life together, something jumps in to remind you that it’s not all beer and skittles.  Does that happen to you or is it just us?

In our case, it was Scabby Mouth.  We have never had this virus before and were quite alarmed when we noticed our ewes getting puffy faces.  Black puffy lips and bleeding from the sores made our cute-faced sheep look very ugly indeed.  We called the vet who came and checked a portion of the flock. He found they were running a temperature (they weren’t at all happy with the cold-thermometer-up-the-backside treatment) and left us with some antibiotics to give them in case of pneumonia.  While we did inject the antibiotics into some of the worst affected, we found that it was generally useless.  We did lose 7 breeding ewes and, interestingly, it seemed to hit the best animals worst.  Of the 7 ewes lost, at least 2 were some of our best.

Fly-struck ewe with Scabby Mouth. We had to watch for fly-strike and then yard and treat any sheep struck.

The ewes and rams have fully recovered now, but it is now going through our lambs from last year.  So if you are waiting with great anticipation for the announcement of a new season of lamb packs, you’ll have to anticipate a little longer – we’re waiting until all signs of the virus are gone before we sell any animals.  It is frustrating as some are ready to go, but we do not want to send sick animals out. Hopefully in a few more weeks, all this will just be a memory.  And we’ll be congratulating ourselves once again… 😉

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