Farm Animal Information - Sheep/Goats

Farm Animal Information - Sheep/Goats

Sheep

Grazing Management

Planned grazing can substantially reduce the risk of FE in hill country.  Good planning is essential and it must start months in advance.  Identify the safe areas on your farm and aim to have a feed bank on these areas for the FE season.  The best way to identify the safer areas on your farm is by regular spore counting over several years – but in the meantime the shady south facing faces are generally safest.

The spores are concentrated in the litter at the base of the pasture so the harder the sheep graze the greater the risk of FE.

Try to minimise the number of young stock retained to late summer and autumn.

Breeding for Resistance in Rams
Tolerance to FE is strongly inherited so sourcing rams tolerant to FE will reduce the susceptibility of their offspring to FE.

ZINC OXIDE DOSING FOR SHEEP

Sheep can be dosed at twice weekly, weekly or fortnightly intervals with Zinc Oxide.  However the longer the interval, the lower the level of protection.  Salmonellosis has been associated with fortnightly dosing so if this is a potential problem shorter intervals are recommended.  Watch for diseases like pink eye and pneumonia, which may also develop due to frequent yarding.

RECOMMENDED DOSE RATES:
Stabilised drench – 0.5ml/10kg LW x interval (days) (recipes for mixing these drenches are in the cattle section).

Time Capsule
This is like the cattle product that slowly releases Zinc that gives protection for six weeks in sheep and lambs.  It is highly effective and safe in most situations.  It dissolves completely in the rumen and therefore leaves no residues.  It comes in two sizes one for sheep over 40kg which costs $2.70 inc GST and one for lambs which costs $2.10 inc GST.  There is only a limited number of these available so contact us as soon as possible if you require some this year.  Applicator Guns are available, provided the Time Capsules are purchased from Cambridge Veterinary Services, for your use – these are charged out at cost and then credited to your account on return to the clinic.

Bottle feeding has to be learned by the lamb.  To teach the lamb to drink, place the teat in its mouth and move the jaw by hand to stimulate sucking.

Day 1: 

The lamb requires 5-6 feeds of high quality colostrum spaced evenly throughout the day.  Colostrum is absolutely critical for the lamb to establish an active immune system and to provide antibodies that will help the lamb to fight infection and prevent scours.  The aim is to feed about 125ml per feed for a 4kg lamb.

Day 2-4:

Big robust lambs that have adapted well to the bottle can have the number of feeds reduced to 3-4/day but the volume increased.  Aim to feed 200-300mls per feed. Do not be tempted to overfeed!  It is best to keep the lambs a little hungry especially in the first few days.  Overfeeding can lead to scours or bloating.

Day 5 onwards:

Transition lambs onto cold, yoghurtised milk.  The most common cause of pet lamb deaths is abomasal bloat.  THIS IS REALLY COMMON!  A bacteria called Sarcinia lives in the abomasum and helps to digest the lactose in milk.  When Sarcinia starts to proliferate it produces a large volume of gas, which if not removed quickly by the lamb, can result in abomasal bloat and death of the lamb.  Rearing lambs on cold yoghurtised milk will virtually eliminate this issue.

To Make Yoghurtised Milk
  • Place 3L of warm water (40C) in a 9L bucket (ensure the bucket is twice the volume to your milk or you may have a mess to clean up)
  • Add 1 kg of Anlamb powder and mix with a stick blender
  • Add a 200ml Easiyo Satchet to the water and mix again
  • Leave in the hot water cupboard to thicken (8-12hrs)
    The mix varies from a bubbly thickshake to crusty cream cheese sitting on top of a clear liquid, to thick commercial yoghurt
  • Top up with cold water to the 8L mark on the bucket
  • Remove 200ml of this liquid for use as the started for the next batch
  • When it’s time to feed the lamb, whisk the mix well and decant what you need and feed cold
  • Introduce the yoghurt with a gradual transition from warm to cold feeding
  • You can change the bucket every so often for a clean one if you prefer
  • You may need to occasionally ‘recharge’ the mixture with extra yoghurt if it gets too thin or seems to not be fermenting well.
Lamb Scours

The vast majority of scours in lambs is nutritional/osmotic rather than infectious and are generally easily fixed:

  1. At the first sign of a mild scour with the lamb still bright and drinking
  2. Increase the concentration of the milk replacer being fed by around 20-25%
  3. Cut the water down but use the same amount of powder
  4. Also reduce the volume fed for two or three feeds by 50ml
  5. This will frequently stop the scour, but make sure the lamb has fresh water available and watch for constipation, this can happen quite easily.When the scour stops, transition back to normal volume and concentration.
  6. If the above approach doesn’t work or the lamb is dull or inappetant, you will need to move onto the electrolyte therapy.
  7. Please talk to your vet. When the milk is reintroduced, use the reduced volume/increased concentration approach as above.

Flystrike is estimated to cost the New Zealand sheep industry about $37 million a year, with those losses coming from deaths, treatment costs, and loss of meat and wool production.  Even relatively minor strikes can result in marked appetite loss and subsequent losses of weight with prolonged recovery times.

A simple plan for protection is to shear your sheep in late December and treat immediately or within a few days with spray-on or pour-on treatments like Clik (18 weeks protection), Zapp Encore (8 weeks). You may need to use a half dose as a crutch treatment at the end of this period to protect at the end of summer. Be sure to warn the shearer and discard this wool at shearing. Zapp Encore, Cyrex or Maggo can be used to treat fly blown sheep. Depending on the severity of the strike, sheep may need further treatment oreuthanasia. Talk to your vet. Below is a table of the products we recommend and stock at Cambridge Vets.Fly Strike Table-583
* at 3ltr applied washFour species of blowfly are recorded as causing strikes on sheep in New Zealand, with the Australian green blowfly [Lucilia cuprina] and the European green blowfly [Lucilia sericata] recognized as the most important primary strike flies.
Prevention of flystrike is largely reliant on the application of insecticides by a variety of means [saturation dipping, jetting, low volume pour-ons or spray-on] to the fleece of  ‘at risk’ animals, along with good animal husbandry for effective worm control and to prevent faecal soiling, and crutching and shearing at appropriate times.  The preventative chemicals most commonly used belong to the broad insect growth regulator [IGR] group of compounds.The IGR’s fall into two distinct chemical classes;
1.Triazine/pyrimidine derivatives such as cyromazine [Vetrazin] and dicyclanil [CLiK and CLiKZiN]
2. Benzoyl phenyl urea [BPU] compounds represented by diflubenzuron and triflumuronLucilia spp blowflies have demonstrated a remarkable ability to develop resistance to various chemicals used to control or       prevent flystrike, with resistance first manifested as a shorter than expected period of protection in spite of proper application and dosage.  Strains of Lucilia spp. resistant to diazinon an organophoshate, have been recorded throughout New Zealand and recent surveys have suggested that there may be widespread resistance to BPUs in the Waikato.Minimizing the losses caused by flystrike requires a planned preventative approach using effective products.  A preventative   approach means treatments are applied before expected fly activity rather than waiting until animals get struck.  Resistance management needs to be factored in when planning flystrike prevention programmes, alongside other key factors such as rainfall, class of sheep, shearing, docking and weaning dates, product application method and previous fly challenge.  If you have any doubts about the effectiveness of your current flystrike prevention programme please give us a call.See individual pack details for full instructions on how to get the best out of your choice
of product.

Drench

There are several ways to accidentally poison stock with drench that you need to be aware of.
Pour-on is deadly if given by mouth.  Overdosing by more than 50% is dangerous, especially with Levamisole or Selenium.  There are no Abamectin (Ivomec-type) products licensed for oral use in cattle because of potential for overdosing.  Never add drench to bulk tanks such as calf milk feeders as you will have no control over how much each animal drinks.Always read directions and dose rates carefully, and if you have delegated drenching to other staff, make sure they fully understand your instructions, route of administration, and the dose rates.Bloat Drench is extremely toxic to calves in it’s concentrate form.  Never use old bloat drench drums as calf feeders.

Plants / Trees

– Oleander is extremely toxic, to stock and to people.  In one case, 5 leaves killed 5 calves.  Remove it with extreme care as scratches can also cause problems.

– Yew leaves, bark and seeds are all poisonous, and just as bad fresh or wilted.  Do not throw trimmings into stock paddocks.

– Acorns are particularly poisonous when they are green (fallen during high winds).  Calves suckling cows that have eaten acorns are most susceptible, followed by calves eating them, then adult animals.

– Rhododendron  has been responsible for the death of several pet lambs, leading to great distress.  Keep lambs out of the garden, and trimmings out of the paddock.

– Lily of the Valley contains digitalis glycosides, the same toxin found in foxglove.  Once again, keep it away from stock.

Poisonous Plants for stock-848-331

Other plants

There are plenty of other plants that can cause poisonings in stock, including Poa Aquatica (which has locally been known as Oreipunga disease due to its occurrence in this area), rhubarb, arum lily, macrocarpa (particularly after trimming or high winds), ragwort, tutu, hemlock, bracken fern, marijuana, and many others.  Most will only be poisonous if eaten in large quantities but are better not to be eaten at all.

Rubbish / Dump Sites

Old car batteries and sheep dip have caused problems due to the lead and arsenic content. Beware the rubbish pile and inquisitive stock.

If you are concerned that your stock has eaten or been overdosed with any of the above, or you are unsure of how safe a product or plant matter is, please ring the clinic immediately on 0800 226 838 or (07) 827 7099 and ask to speak to a vet.

Androvax is a vaccine that increases fecundity in breeding ewes, increasing lambing percentage by an average 20%. It contains an androstenedione-protein complex which raises antibody levels, causing a change in hormone production which temporarily blocks the release of eggs from the ovaries. More eggs mature and when antibody levels fall these extra eggs are released, thus increasing the number of lambs born.
In the first year two doses are administered. The first dose is given 8 – 10 weeks before ewes are mated and the second dose at 4 – 6 weeks prior to mating. In subsequent years, previously vaccinated ewes only need a single booster injection 4 – 6 weeks prior to mating.

Toxovax

Toxoplasmosis never goes away and is very common on farms in New Zealand. One shot of Toxovax (at least 4 weeks before tupping) gives your ewes a lifetime of protection against the devastating abortion storms Toxoplasmosis can cause. Vaccination can increase lamb numbers by an average of 3% as well as decreasing the number of dry ewes. Please order this in before you need it as it has a short shelf life. The majority of ewes have had exposure to both
toxoplasmosis and campylobacter, indicating that they are present and circulating on virtually every farm in the country. The risk of disease is highest in hoggets and two tooths and the results of infection can be devastating. Abortion storms result in the loss of between 20% and 30% of lambs but can be as high as 70%. Such losses can be both emotionally and financially crippling. Even when no abortions are seen, losses can still be significant, with increases in the number of both dry and late lambing ewes. Both diseases have also been implicated in the births of stillborn or weak lambs that fail to thrive. Vaccination has been shown to prevent losses from both abortion storms and the reproductive effects of both diseases. Increases in lambing percentage of 3-9% have also been shown to be a benefit from the use of vaccination.
You cannot control the weather or the lamb schedule, but you can certainly avoid the devastating effects of abortion storms whilst improving lambing percentages.

Campyvax – requires a booster pre-tupping and a sensitizer 4-8 weeks earlier for ewe lambs.

Goats

Goats are generally more resistant than sheep, and their browsing habits make them less prone to ingesting spores. Milking goats are probably at greatest risk.

Prevention is best achieved by never making stock graze into the base level of pastures. The fungus grows on the litter at the base of the pasture and the spores are concentrated there.

Other options include:
· Spray pastures with fungicide.
· Use a suitable zinc prevention method.  In highly toxic conditions use zinc oxide prevention as for sheep.
· Provide supplementary feed (crops, fodder, hay or silage) to reduce grazing pressure on toxic pastures.

A recent paper by Waikato-based Cognosco investigated intramammary infections in goats through lactation. The highest incidence rate of new infections occurred in early lactation but the prevalence of IMI increased with stage of lactation. This is probably because of the long-lasting nature of the most common bacterial infection in goats (Coagulase negative staphylococci), which can persist for up to 7 months. Staph aureus is also common, but tends to cause a higher somatic cell count (SCC).

The nature of the mastitis seemed to be contagious, so control measures to reduce prevalence as well as transmission may be effective in controlling IMI: teat spraying, optimal milking machine function, and milker hygiene.

IMI was found to increase gland SCC, but only affected Bulk Tank SCC in early lactation, as goats’ SCC increases later in lactation anyway. Stress can also cause a rise in SCC.