Thursday, April 28, 2011

Broken Horns on Sheep

When sheep break their horns it can be serious.  They could bleed to death, or they could suffer from the result of infection, or flies.  As well tetanus can be a concern. 

When we had some Jabob ewe lambs, one seemed prone to always knocking one of her horns off, causing bleeding, and worry.  If a sheep breaks a small horn treating with Iodine, or any other product you have for bleeding and/or infection, is a good idea.  You can apply something to keep the flies away too but keep it out of the wound unless instructed otherwise as per your veterinarian (not all products can be used on sheep). Make sure to stop the bleeding.

If the sheep does go off its feed, and starts grinding its teeth - call a vet.  If the horn was large and was broken right off (say on a Jacob, or Barbado ram) call a veterinarian immediately!

We just had a ram lamb, with small horn buds, knock one of the tips of his horns off.  We were separating the lambs from the ewes and accidents like this are likely to happen with lambs trying to get back to their moms. 

We treated with iodine, and are letting the wound heal on its own otherwise - exposed to the air.  It is still too cold for flies here, so we are not worried about that.

This picture was taken about 4 hours after the injury happened, it was bright red when it happened, but who thinks of taking a picture then?  You can see how small the other horn is, only about 2 inches (5cm).  The injured horn may be sore for a few days, but this little ram lamb should be fine and will continue to grow a horn in spite of the setback.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Innisfail Odd and Unusual Animal and Bird Auction Sheep and Goat Day

Twice a year there is a great three day auction held at the Innisfail Auction Market in Innisfail, Alberta.  This auction market holds regular cattle sales, as well as horse sales, but is also host to the Odd and Unusual Animal and Bird Auction.

Every Easter and Thanksgiving weekend a three day livestock and farm equipment auction is held in Innisfail.

On the first day (Friday) of the sale Goats and Sheep are sold.  Typically the sale opens with the bottle babies being sold - both goat kids, and lambs.  Then goats are auctioned off, followed by sheep.  Very often a few bags of feed are sold and a few other items related to sheep, and/or goats. 

Later in the day antiques, and caged pets are sold, with birds (including house birds as well as poultry) selling Saturday, and larger mammals on Sunday (horses, donkeys, bison, llamas, cattle, and so forth).  Tack and other large animal equipment is usually sold at the start of the Sunday sale. 

The sale is very well run, the animals penned so that people can look prior to the auction and make note of which animals they wish to bid on.  The sheep and goats are generally NOT run into the ring in numerical order but rather by gender. 

The auction sees many breeds of goats and sheep.  Fainting goats tend to be very popular at this auction sale as are hair sheep.

If you plan on attending as a buyer it is good to arrive early to have a look at the penned goats and sheep, as well you will want to get a good seat. 

If you plan on attending as a seller you will need to arrive extra early and get into line up to unload your animals.  Typically the animals well sell in the same order they arrived.  Birds must be in good boxes and you need to write a description on the box, it is best to do this at home prior to arriving.  Sheep require a CSIP tag.

If you are selling bottle baby goats, or bottle baby lambs, it is generally a good idea to bring a bottle and a days worth of formula powder to supply to the buyer of the animal.

For Innisfail Odd and Unusual Sale Dates and Contact Information - click here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sheep Trivia and Facts

Just wanted to share some neat information on sheep, sheep trivia, as well as a few odd facts about sheep.

Not all breeds of sheep have wool, many have hair which they shed just like a dog.  They are called "Hair Sheep" and there are many breeds.  When crossed with wool sheep, the sheep often  have a mix of both (the part Jacob sheep pictured is also part hair sheep, you can see she is shedding).

Sheep do not have top teeth at the front of their mouth.

Some sheep have no horns, others have many, the sheep pictured below is a part Jacob sheep ewe, she actually has 5 horns although one is poorly developed.  Many sheep of this breed have four horns.
Sheep normally have long tails, these are often docked to prevent feces from building up on the tail. However there are also breeds of sheep who have fat tails, thicker than a persons arm.

Tennis rackets are often strung with “sheep gut” it takes the small intestines of eleven sheep to produce one racket.

Lanolin is an oil that protects the sheep's wool and keeps it water proof. It is also often used in products for human hair. Hair sheep do not have this lanolin.

Gestation (length of pregnancy) in sheep is 5 months. Most sheep will have one lamb their first year, and 1-3 lambs every year there after.  The process of giving birth is called "lambing".

Sheep are herd animals, they very much need to be kept with other sheep.

Although naturally nervous, sheep can be halter trained.

Sheep are natural grazers, but enjoy treats such as cut up apples, carrots, and beans.

Sheep cannot have copper in their diet, too much is toxic to them.

Lambs often jump will all four feet in the air at once, this is a playful jump known as “pronging”.

photo by scott liddell