08 July 2007

Sure Enough

In yesterday's post, I described our struggles to save Dilemma from the parasites which had rapidly overtaken him.

Unfortunately, as I suspected would happen, he died in the night. If there's anything positive to say at all, at least he curled up and expired right in front of the main pasture gate; that'll make it all the easier to transport him to our neighbor's 80 acre field for disposal. With temperatures headed into the 90s again today, we'll need to get Dilemma's body out of here ASAP.
With both Dilemma and his sire meeting the same fate --- succumbing to a worm load the rest of the flock was handling fine --- we're not sure what to do with the male lamb Dilemma produced this year. He's absolutely beautiful, and we'd like to keep him for breeding, but the susceptibility to worms concerns us. Perhaps the solution is to keep him, and make sure we aggressively worm him even more than the rest of the flock.


Steve said...

Sorry for your loss.

Question: "I wormed him again, and drenched him with an apple cider vinegar tonic"

OK, I think I understand the apple cider drenching --- you made him drink a large dose, right? It's not that you poured it over him --- or is it?

As for "I wormed him," does that mean you dosed him with medicine? Pulled worms out of him?

Also, what kind of worms? The trichinosis type? Does that mean the mutton is potentially dangerous for human consumption?

I love your blog, and am living vicariously through it. I'd love to homestead, but my suburban-raised wife would never go for it! Thanks!

TYF said...

Steve -

As I was typing that original post, I realized it may have confused some readers...I should've clarified.

The "wormer" is a medication that is injected into the sheep with a syringe. It goes straight into the bloodstream, where it can do its work killing the worms.

And yes, the "worms" are internal parasites that suck the sheep's blood. These are like trichinosis only in that they are internal --- but they do not spread disease to humans the way that, say, undercooked pork does. They are not external parasites, like leaches, that can be pulled off the animal. They must be killed internally.

A "drench" is a beneficial liquid that you want to get a whole lot of into the sheep all at once. Like is true of horses, you can lead a sheep to water...but you can't make him drink. A "drench" is a way of making the animal injest the liquid. You load the liquid into a large (35cc) syringe that does not have a needle, stick the syringe deep in the animal's mouth, and press down on the plunger. Presto, the liquid goes down the animal's throat.

We've found that a 50-50 solution of raw organic apple cider vinegar and water is a wonderfully beneficial tonic for sheep.

Danby said...

After 20 years of homesteading and 15 years of raising sheep, I have one bit of advice. Never breed a management problem. You only get another management problem. As far as I am concerned this is much more important than breeding for type, production, or market. If you keep a ram that is prone to parasite infestation, ALL his get will inherit that tendency. In three generations, you could wind up with a serious loss rate and a flock that has to be pampered through the spring and fall worm seasons. This is a very bad thing to do to your flock.