Would you breed from a ewe who had sleepy sickness again?

More
7 years 7 months ago #525097 by 16 Paws
This relates to the same ewe I mentioned in a previous post. Two tooth ewe, bred for the first time this season. She went down with sleepy sickness a couple of days prior to a complicated delivery of three huge triplets. There was delay with her milk coming in, so the triplets were fed top up colostrum/milk replacer. The ewe seemed to have a bit of a slow recovery, took 4 days until she was really up grazing well. The "smallest" triplet unfortunately died of what we believe was watery mouth - another new thing to add to our learning for the year. Another has been fostered out, leaving mum now content with one healthy lamb to enjoy.
So now that the crisis has all settled, I am beginning to wonder about the implications for the ewe next year, and what everyone's thoughts are. Should we risk breeding her again, or not? She was rather a special part of the flock to begin with, being a bottle fed triplet herself. What are your thoughts? Any help or tales from experience appreciated.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
7 years 7 months ago #525106 by terralee
In a word ....YES ...we have done so several times ....the only thing that I would be doing is keeping a very close eye on her next time and giving her special treatment that being the best saved pasture and extra supplements when she has around 4-6 weeks to go to lambing as it is a metabolic illness rather than recurring / genetic ...since she had triplets 1st time pay to expect at least twins next time and feed her accordingly before she gets sleepy :)
Glad she has one baby to bring up ...bet she is happy girl :kiss:

Cheers

Leonie & Zoo!!! :silly: :woohoo:
The following user(s) said Thank You: 16 Paws

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
7 years 7 months ago - 7 years 7 months ago #525123 by hilldweller
I would. Just pay extra attention to feeding from about six weeks before lambing. They need what the books call a rising plane of nutrition during those last weeks, and since she won't have much room inside to eat a lot if she has trips or twins again it will need to be the best quality feed you can give her. Other than that, just keep an eye on her and intervene early if she looks to be slowing down.

hilldweller
Last edit: 7 years 7 months ago by hilldweller.
The following user(s) said Thank You: 16 Paws

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
7 years 7 months ago #525146 by 16 Paws
Thanks terralee and hilldweller. Learning from your experiences is appreciated. With hindsight she had dropped from the front of the queue for nuts, to the back a day or two before she went down. Next season I will be able to spot the earlier signs. And I am very glad you agree she can remain a productive flock member. She really is that bit special - even more so now. I think we had plenty of nutrition for them, she just couldn't access it due to her size in the end. Out of interest, when would you intervene with ketol - at the early signs of slowing down, or only when sure something is going wrong?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
7 years 7 months ago #525154 by muri
Sleepy sickness is a metabolic issue and as such should not be heritable or necessarily repeated the following year

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
7 years 7 months ago #525158 by John M
For one so young, I'd give her another chance, but a repeat offender would get culled... unless her genetics were something important to your breeding program.

I've only had it in aged ewes and they got culled.

John

Breeding black Wiltshire shedding sheep.

Full shedding, easy care, good feet, easy lambing and good mothering is what it takes to make the breeding cut!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
7 years 7 months ago #525163 by terralee

16 Paws wrote: Thanks terralee and hilldweller. Learning from your experiences is appreciated. With hindsight she had dropped from the front of the queue for nuts, to the back a day or two before she went down. Next season I will be able to spot the earlier signs. And I am very glad you agree she can remain a productive flock member. She really is that bit special - even more so now. I think we had plenty of nutrition for them, she just couldn't access it due to her size in the end. Out of interest, when would you intervene with ketol - at the early signs of slowing down, or only when sure something is going wrong?


I would not be using Ketol unless she was showing signs of early sleepy ...more inclined to give supps such as multi nuts (not too many as that brings on another problem :ohmy: ) introduced slowly and there are other things like Nutrimol which is full of goodies and you can give as a drench either daily or 3 weekly at a higher rate ...now you are aware tho' I am sure just preferential feeding and some multi nuts will see her come through just fine :)

Cheers

Leonie & Zoo!!! :silly: :woohoo:

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
7 years 7 months ago #525192 by LongRidge
I too have only had Sleepy Sickness in old ewes, and have never managed to keep them alive. Thus I would suspect that there was also another disease happening at the same time that reduced her food intake. Her food intake was not reduced for long, or the lambs would not have been as large.
As well as this possibility, you have a couple of other problems.
1. The rams genetics is such that he makes big lambs, if most of his other lambs were large. This can be a big problem because if you overfeed ewes with singles, you will have to help them lamb. We have had some huge lambs this year, and have lost 6 out of 40 by not helping the ewe early enough. And we scan our ewes so that we know which have singles so need lots of watching, and have them in the paddock in front of the house so we can watch for lambing, and do 4 lambing beats through them each day. It is exceedingly difficult to buy a ram with known ease of birth.
2. This ewes genetics is such that she makes big lambs. If she has a single next year it is very likely that you will have to lamb her. If you pregnancy scan your ewes, and she does have a single you will know not to overfeed her.
3. If your lambs are large, and if you keep this ram, you are likely to need to keep the ewes on the verge of Sleepy Sickness to keep the lambs small enough to get out.
4. We have a few ewes that reliably birth triplets, but few of them have done so at their first lambing. If your sheep are a breed where triplets are less usual (most except East Freisian), she is likely to have multiples again. Thus she is likely to get Sleepy Sickness again.

So..... Yes I would keep her.
But if the other lambs are large I would get a new ram.
If you do not pregnancy scan, talk to the sheep farmers around you to take your flock to their place when they are scanning. That means putting your ram out at the same time as they do, because if the lambs are too big at scanning it is difficult or impossible to see how many there are.
Talk to the same person about buying some tonic for your ewes just before tupping and 6 weeks before lambing.
Monitor health carefully, especially worms and foot problems in late pregnancy. In some, or perhaps all, the auto-immune system slows down during pregnancy.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
7 years 7 months ago #525194 by Ronney
I think some people need to do a bit of research into Sleepy Sickness/Pregnancy Toxaemia/Twin Lamb Disease/Ketosis - all of which are the same thing.

While it may appear to be a disease, it isn't. It is a management problem which causes metabolic disease and it is the farmer at fault, not the ewe or even the ram. It will affect ewes of all ages and I certainly wouldn't be culling ewes, young or old, because they had sleepy sickness. Instead I would be kicking myself up the arse for not recognising that their feed was insufficient, the ewes had been too fat in early pregnancy then on to dwindling feed, could be carrying large singles or twins and not providing feed for that.

HD is quite right - ewes need to go on to the best feed available for the last 6 weeks or so of pregnancy, especially those which could be carrying large singles or multiples. As she stated, there is little room left inside so quality is the keyword, not quantity.

Cheers,
Ronnie
The following user(s) said Thank You: muri

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
7 years 7 months ago #525196 by 16 Paws
All good points that have been raised. I guess what I was primarily wondering, is beyond the metabolic nature of sleepy sickness, whether or not some ewes are more prone ( in humans - diabetes is a metabolic illness - we are not all equally prone to it). This is the first time we have had a ewe go sleepy. I don't want it to happen again. I am not quite kicking myself Ronney - we have learnt from it, and have had a good outcome after a very fraught couple of weeks. Next time, I hope we will be able to do even better.

The ewe in question is of mixed heritage. Mainly Romney in appearance. Her father was a Tefrom. The biggest risk, beyond her pregnancy is that she was likely a little overweight going into pregnancy, probably a heritage of her being bottle raised and therefore first in the queue for nuts. Pasture has been unlimited through later pregnancy, and was in no way short over the 4 weeks prior. Also we fed nuts regularly at that stage. The flock of 9, gave birth to 6 sets of triplets, 2 sets of twins and 1 single. 3 sets of the triplets were to first time mums- same age as the sleepy ewe. The ram is new. A Shropshire. Overall lamb size is marginally smaller than the lambs we had to the tefrom previously, as we were advised would be the case, but they are growing fast. We have never had so many triplets - if anyone has ideas how to decrease this - I would love ideas about this too!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
7 years 7 months ago #525200 by terralee

16 Paws wrote: All good points that have been raised. I guess what I was primarily wondering, is beyond the metabolic nature of sleepy sickness, whether or not some ewes are more prone ( in humans - diabetes is a metabolic illness - we are not all equally prone to it). This is the first time we have had a ewe go sleepy. I don't want it to happen again. I am not quite kicking myself Ronney - we have learnt from it, and have had a good outcome after a very fraught couple of weeks. Next time, I hope we will be able to do even better.

The ewe in question is of mixed heritage. Mainly Romney in appearance. Her father was a Tefrom. The biggest risk, beyond her pregnancy is that she was likely a little overweight going into pregnancy, probably a heritage of her being bottle raised and therefore first in the queue for nuts. Pasture has been unlimited through later pregnancy, and was in no way short over the 4 weeks prior. Also we fed nuts regularly at that stage. The flock of 9, gave birth to 6 sets of triplets, 2 sets of twins and 1 single. 3 sets of the triplets were to first time mums- same age as the sleepy ewe. The ram is new. A Shropshire. Overall lamb size is marginally smaller than the lambs we had to the tefrom previously, as we were advised would be the case, but they are growing fast. We have never had so many triplets - if anyone has ideas how to decrease this - I would love ideas about this too!


Haha ...I dislike triplets too ...we had 13 ewes from 39 produce triplets one year (not this year thank goodness :lol: :dry: :huh: :ohmy: ) ...it was a nightmare :ohmy: ...the biggest reason that years IMO was over abundance of feed right through the season !!!!! :whistle: ....also some ewes are genetically predisposed to multi multiples ...we still get triplets but with management we try to go for twins ;)
I suggest you had a very good grass growing season last year :woohoo: :woohoo: ...maybe keep them a little tighter pre tupping ....once lambs are weaned and before flushing them :)

Cheers

Leonie & Zoo!!! :silly: :woohoo:

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
7 years 7 months ago - 7 years 7 months ago #525207 by hilldweller
Guessing Tefron is Texel/East Friesian/Romney?????? If so the EF genes would be the ones most likely responsible for the high fertility so perhaps best to just accept you're likely to have a high incidence of multiples and manage them accordingly. I don't know anything about Shropshire but assuming they have a more normal lambing percentage then the EF genes will be somewhat diluted in your next generation of sheep.

hilldweller
Last edit: 7 years 7 months ago by hilldweller.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
7 years 7 months ago #525278 by kindajojo
You have bred from a ewe that was a triplet, so she is genetically disposed to multiple births.....triplets .....therefore you have a better return from the ewe, BUT greater risk of something going wrong with the the ewe or the lambs...Do you want to select for multiple births ( triplets) and have the risks ...
Personally, I am not keen on triplet producing ewes because of the additional work, so I don't keep ewe lambs of triplets .. I have lambing rates around 180% ewes that can raise two big lambs and keep their condition.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 0.137 seconds