As a general rule sheep kneel down while they eat for several reasons. Sheep are sometimes kneeled during eating due to her overgrown feet. Often mud sticks in between the toes and causes pain and later on rot will develop in the area under the mud where oxygen cannot reach and leads to lameness.
Why Do Sheep Eat on Their Knees
Why Do Sheep Eat on Their Knees – Sheep’s work slowly forward when grazing, often side by side, apparently smelling the grass then cropping suitable material by gripping the grass between their teeth and pad. The grass is cut by rapid forward and upward movements of the head. They seem to especially like grazing up to the edge of objects. The grass along the edges of walls, around objects, or at the base of a fence is always thoroughly grazed.
When browsing on hedges, fences, trees or suspended hay-nets they commonly stand up on their back legs in order to reach suitable plant material. Sheep are sometimes kneeled during eating due to her overgrown feet. Often mud sticks in between the toes and causes pain and later on rot will develop in the area under the mud where oxygen cannot reach and leads to lameness.
It can also be well managed by following simple preventative and treatment measures. Lameness can cause huge welfare and economic problems in the flock: an animal in pain will spend less time feeding and grazing and more time lying down with a decrease in body condition, lower lambing percentages, reduced growth rates in lambs, poor fertility in rams, and many more. Some of the more common causes of lameness are as follows:
Scald Sheep Lameness
Scald is the most common cause of lameness in sheep and is most prevalent when conditions underfoot are wet. It can be a precursor to some other more severe causes of lameness so needs to be treated promptly. It can affect all age groups but is more prevalent in lambs than ewes.
It is caused by bacteria Fusobacterium, which is found naturally in the environment. It is commonly spread in warm, damp conditions during grazing periods. The skin between the claws is affected.
It becomes swollen, sore, and inflamed and covered by a thin layer of white material There is no under-running of the hoof wall and no foul smell although sheep can appear quite lame with this condition.
Treatment; Individual cases of scald can be treated topically using oxytetracycline aerosol sprays. When several animals are affected, walking sheep through a 10% zinc sulfate solution or 3% formalin in a footbath usually provides effective control.
It is usually necessary to repeat the foot bathing at weekly intervals throughout the risk period. Afterward, foot bathing sheep must stand in a dry area so that the formalin or zinc sulfate can dry on the feet. At concentrations greater than 5%, formalin can cause severe irritation of the interdigital skin.
Prevention; Controlling footrot in ewes helps reduce scald levels in lambs Minimize irritation of the skin between the claws by;
- Keeping sward height low especially during June and July
- Cutting stemmy swards for hay or silage
- Removing thorns, hedge trimmings, etc. from fields
- Ensuring pens are dry and well-bedded
- Moving troughs regularly to prevent heavy poaching
- Avoid high stocking densities in pens and at pasture
- Applying builders’ lime around troughs and gateways may help to reduce the infection
Footrot is a bacterial infection of the horny parts and the adjacent soft structures of the feet. It is most often a problem on wet, marshy, or badly drained pasture although the wet itself doesn’t cause the disease; it simply facilitates infection.
Affected sheep will usually be quite lame; on examination of the foot, there may be swelling over the coronet or an area of the horn will be soft, painful on pressure, “rotten looking” with a foul-smelling discharge present.
Footrot can be eradicated by keeping pasture free of sheep for three weeks and by isolating and treating affected sheep. A vaccine containing inactive strains of one of the causal bacteria is available.
Ideally, sheep with footrot should be housed in a dry, strawed yard and given daily treatment. The feet should be trimmed until all of the “rotten” material has been removed then the feet should be dipped in a zinc sulfate solution. Oxytetracycline spray is useful and in bad cases, a long-acting antibiotic can be very effective.
If you are treating sheep with footrot, take care not to spread the infection – keep hands, knife, or foot shears clean and dispose of foot trimmings carefully.
Contagious Ovine Digital Dermatitis (CODD)
This is an apparently new disease in which sheep are extremely lame and a large proportion of the flock can be affected. The lesion begins at the coronary band of the hoof and runs downwards towards the toe often resulting in the loss of the whole hoof capsule.
The foot is often so badly damaged that the horn does not grow back properly. There is usually hair loss for 2-3 cm above the coronary band and there is no inter-digital involvement. The condition is not well understood, but it is believed that different kinds of bacteria may be involved including possibly a spirochete similar to that which causes digital dermatitis in cattle.
Control depends on purchasing all sheep from known sources and/or health status to reduce the risk of infection, isolation of all purchased sheep for at least 30 days, regular inspection of all purchased sheep during the quarantine period, and the isolation of any sheep found to be lame and prompt treatment with a suitable antibiotic recommended by your veterinary surgeon.
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Treatment; Do not trim. The hoof horn, although loose, still protects the living tissue underneath – Antibiotic footbaths, injections, and sprays are not always effective. Consult your vet for the latest recommendations – Culling of severely affected sheep may be necessary on welfare grounds
Prevention; Avoid buying in sheep from flocks with CODD. Quarantine for as long as possible, cases often arise several months after purchase. Avoid mixed grazing if digital dermatitis is present in cattle. Isolate suspected cases and seek veterinary advice immediately. This will help to minimize disease spread and reduce the risk of permanent foot damage.
General Tips on Foot Care
- Lameness is impossible to eliminate but it can be controlled.
- Regular foot inspection is important.
- In most cases, routine trimming of all feet is unnecessary and can actually do more harm than good.
- Correct diagnosis and early treatment improve the chances of success.
- Good handling facilities reduce stress on both the operator and the animal.
- Rough or dirty handling pens can cause hoof damage and spread foot infections.
- Always record or mark treated animals (you can use the notes at the end of this booklet). If lameness persists, repeat treatments after 14 days.
- If a third treatment is required, consider culling the persistent offenders.
- Seek veterinary advice if necessary.
Foot bathing best practice
- Before foot bathing, check that equipment and handling pens are in good condition.
- Foot bathing is best carried out on a dry day.
- If possible, try to have feet as clean as possible before foot bathing. This is most easily achieved by placing a second foot bath, filled with water, immediately before the main treatment foot bath.
- Use solutions at concentrations recommended by the manufacturer. High concentrations of some foot bathing products will damage the feet and skin, making the problem worse.
- Make sure the footbath solution is deep enough to cover the entire hoof and that all feet are treated.
- Allow animals to stand in the footbath solution for the recommended time. This is more easily achieved with stand-in pens rather than walk-through baths.
- For best results, allow the sheep to stand on a hard-dry surface for up to one hour after treatment.
- After foot bathing, move the sheep onto dry pasture which has not been grazed within the previous 2 weeks
- Dispose of the footbath solution carefully
Sheep Farming for Wool Profitability Table
|Sheep||Lambs / 3 Per Yr||Space Required 20 Sq Feet - Each||Grazing Acres .3 / Sheep||Feed Required / Yr $100||15 Lbs Wool / Year||Average Price $ 10 / LB Wool||Total Revenue Possible|
|1||3||60 sq ft||.9 acres||$ 300||45 lbs||$ 450||$ 150|
|2||6||120 sq ft||1.80 acres||$ 600||90 lbs||$ 900||$ 300|
|5||15||300 sq ft||4.5 acres||$ 1,500||225 lbs||$ 2,250||$ 750|
|10||30||600 sq ft||9 acres||$ 3,000||450 lbs||$ 4,500||$ 1,500|
|20||60||1200 sq ft||18 acres||$ 6,000||900 lbs||$ 9,000||$ 3,000|
|30||90||2,700 sq ft||27 acres||$ 9,000||1,350 lbs||$ 13,500||$ 4,500|
|40||120||4800 sq ft||36 acres||$ 12,000||1,800 lbs||$ 18,000||$ 6,000|
|50||150||3,000 sq ft||45 acres||$ 15,000||2,250 lbs||$ 22,500||$ 7,500|
|100||300||6,000 sq ft||90 acres||$ 30,000||4,500 lbs||$ 45,000||$ 15,000|
|200||600||12,000 sq ft||180 acres||$ 60,000||9,000 lbs||$ 90,000||$ 30,000|
Sheep can Produce 2 - 30 lbs of wool per year depending on Breed
Raw washed Wool Runs $ 6 - $ 14 using average $ 10
Feed 5 Months Buying Hay $ 100 rest Grazing
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Sheep Farming for Milk Profitability Table
|Sheep||Lambs / 3 Per Yr||Space Required 20 Sq Feet - Each||Grazing Acres .3 / Sheep||Feed Required / Yr $100||Wool $ 15 lb / Year||Average Price $ 10 / LB Wool||90 Gallon/ Yr each ewe||Price $ 30 per Gallon||Total Wool Revenue Possible||Total Revenue Milk and Wool|
|1||3||60 sq ft||.9 acres||$ 300||45 lbs||$ 450||270||8100||$ 150||8,250|
|2||6||120 sq ft||1.80 acres||$ 600||90 lbs||$ 900||540||16,200||$ 300||16,500|
|5||15||300 sq ft||4.5 acres||$ 1,500||225 lbs||$ 2,250||1350||40,500||$ 750||41,250|
|10||30||600 sq ft||9 acres||$ 3,000||450 lbs||$ 4,500||2700||81,000||$ 1,500||82,500|
|20||60||1200 sq ft||18 acres||$ 6,000||900 lbs||$ 9,000||5400||162,000||$ 3,000||165,000|
|30||90||2,700 sq ft||27 acres||$ 9,000||1,350 lbs||$ 13,500||8100||243,000||$ 4,500||247,500|
|40||120||4800 sq ft||36 acres||$ 12,000||1,800 lbs||$ 18,000||10,800||324,000||$ 6,000||330,000|
|50||150||3,000 sq ft||45 acres||$ 15,000||2,250 lbs||$ 22,500||13,500||405,000||$ 7,500||412,500|
|100||300||6,000 sq ft||90 acres||$ 30,000||4,500 lbs||$ 45,000||27,000||810,000||$ 15,000||825,000|
|200||600||12,000 sq ft||180 acres||$ 60,000||9,000 lbs||$ 90,000||54,000||1,620,000||$ 30,000||1,650,000|
Sheep can Produce 1/2 Gallon Milk per day / 180 Day Lactation
Raw Sheep Milk $9 - $25 per Quart - Used $ 30 per Gallon for Table
Feed 5 Months Buying Hay $ 100 rest Grazing
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18 Breeds of Hair Sheep FAQ Table
|Hair Breeds of Sheep||Country Origin||Purpose of Breed||Use||Ewe Weight|
|Katahdins||Caribbean / Maine / Africa||To Graze Power lines / instead of Chemicals||Meat||120 - 160 lbs|
|Dorper||South Africa||Thrive in Africa / Hot Climate||Meat / Fast Growing||230 LBs|
|Blackbelly||America||Hot Climates||Meat||150 LBs|
|St. Croix||Carribean||Came on Ships for Meat for sailors||Meat||150 lbs|
|Romanovs||Russia||Primarily for Meat||Meat|
Wool - Double Coated
|Blackhead Persian||Africa / Somaila||Bred for High Quanity of Fat||Meat||120 lbs|
|West African Dwarf||South / Central Africa||Meat||55 lbs|
|Red Maasi||East Africa||Bred for Hardiness and parasite Resistance||Meat||77 Lbs|
|Wiltshire Horn||England||Do not suffer from Flystrike||Meat||149 lbs|
|Royal White||United States / Texas||Bred for Tender Meat and Disease Resistants||Meat||175 lbs|
|California Red||Not completely Hair sheep/ Combination of both/ Prod 2 lambs Yr||Meat||140 lbs|
|Damara||Egypt||Vigorous with fast growing / in extreme conditions||Meat||110 lbs|
|Pelibuey||Cuba / Mexico||Tropical Sheep||Meat||75 lbs|
|Africana||Columbia / Venezula||Meat||110 lbs|
|Morada||Brazil||Survive Scrub||Meat||66 lbs|
|Brazillian Somaila||South Africa / Somali||Meat|
|Uda||Africa||Long Legged Sheep||Meat||88 lbs|
|Touabire||Africa||Dairy / Meat||77 lbs|
Minature Breeds of Sheep
|Breed||Height||Weight / Full Grown||Food Per Day||Lifespan||Wool / Hair Sheep||Cost|
|Quessant Sheep||!8"||28 - 30 Lbs||1/2 - 1lb||10 - 12 Yrs||Wool||$ 350 - 450|
|Baby Doll Southdown||18"||75 lbs||2 - 3 Lbs||10 - 12 Yrs||Wool||$ 350 -450|
|Southdown Sheep||18" - 24"||130 lbs||6 - 6 lbs||10 - 12 Yrs||Wool||$ 180 - $ 600|
|Cheviot Sheep||20"||130 Lbs||6 - 6 lbs||10 - 12 Yrs||Wool||$ 180 - $ 600|
|Border Cheviot||20"||130 lbs||6 - 6 lbs||10 - 12 Yrs||Wool||$ 180 - $ 600|
|Shetland Sheep||24"||75 - 100 lbs||6 - 6 lbs||10 - 12 Yrs||Wool||$ 50 - $100|
|Navajo - Churro||20"||110 lbs||6 - 6 lbs||10 - 12 Yrs||Wool||$ 200|
Amount of Food they Need
Wool - They Need to be Sheared Hair Sheep - Do not Grow Woll but shed Hair once a year
Pricing Depend whether you just want Sheep Or you want to Breed
Toxic Plants for Sheep Pastures
|Toxic / Poisonous Plant||Symptoms / Characteristics|
|Garden Iris||Roots and stems|
|Holly||Berries - Diarrhea - vomiting - stupor|
|Morning Glory||hallucinogenic seeds|
|Rhubarb||Leaves - Convulsions and Death|
|Wild Cherry||Wilted Leaves have Cynaide - Convolusions, Rolling Eyes, Tongue hanging, animal dies within hours|
|Yew||Needle Like Shrub - vomiting, convulsions, animals Rarely survive this poisoning
|Oaks||Acorns, young trees - anorexia, constipation diahreah thirst gastro problems|
|Mountain Laurel||Same symptoms of Poiaoning. Vomiting, Diahreah, salivation - Usually fall into Coma and then Death|
|Rhododendron||Same symptoms of Poiaoning. Vomiting, Diahreah, salivation - Usually fall into Coma and then Death|
|Azalea||Same symptoms of Poiaoning. Vomiting, Diahreah, salivation - Usually fall into Coma and then Death|
many of these are found around Fence Rows
Fields Should be Checked
Sheep Associations 10 Breeds of Sheep
|Breeds of Sheep||Country Origin||Purpose of Breed||Use||Ewe Weight||Association For Info|
|Suffolk Sheep||Britian / Suffolk||Fast Growing||Meat||250 - 350 Lbs||United Suffolk Sheep Association|
|Merino Sheep||Spain||Softest Wool||Wool||100 - 200 Lbs||American and Delane Merino Sheep Association|
|Hampshire||Britain||Best Tasting Mutton||Wool / Meat||200 Lbs||American Hampshire Sheep Association|
|Romney||England / Romney Marsh||Disease Resistance||Wool / Meat||225 - 275 Lbs||American Romney Breeders Association|
|Lincoln Sheep||England||Produce Longest Fleece In World||Wool||250 - 350 Lbs||National Lincoln Sheep Breeders Association|
|Dorper Sheep||South African||Fast Growing Meat||Meat||230 Lbs||American Droper Sheep association|
|Turcana Sheep||Romainia||Adapted Alpine Pasture||Wool / Milk / Meat||175 - 200 Lbs||?|
|Rambouilette Sheep||France||Strong / Hearty / All Climates||Wool / Meat||300 Lbs||American Rambouilette Sheep Breeders Association|
|Leicester Longwool||United Kingdom||Fast growing / Good Fleece||Wool||200 Lbs||Leicester Longwool Sheep Breeders Association|