Thursday, January 01, 2009

A happy start

We ended 2008 with a bitter wind overnight and the thermometer reading zero. The sheep got the royal sleeping quarters beginning yesterday and through tonight. We have a small barn attached to their freestall area which is bedded with straw and sleeps 10. For those less inclined to battle the dirt floor of the barn on a cold night this suite offers plush accomodations.
This morning the birdfeeder was a hoppin' with loads of finches....Webster was in heaven watching them from the warmth of the kitchen window!

After feeding, the sheep enjoyed stepping out into the bright sunshine to bask. The wind had died down and the day, although frigid, was great sheep weather.
Memphis has had a bit of an intestinal disorder....not uncommon and most likely the result of the ups and downs in the temperatures the past few weeks. Sheep are very sensitive to any changes in their daily routine (aren't we all!) and the weather can be the culprit quite often. The symptom is loose stools. The bug is coccidia, brought on usually by stress. She is on day 2 of a three day treatment with an oral sulfa drench and a dose or so of Pepto Bismol. The sulfa drug attacks the bug and the Pepto, as for humans, instantly attacks the loose stool issue. She was quite friendly this morning as if to thank us for noticing. Memphis is an awesome ewe. She has taught us many things about sheep care across her years with us and never failed to thank us for the care. She is the face on our logo and a true lady in every way.
While Jack plowed from yesterday's snow storm, I washed all the sheep coats that had piled up after the last coat change. Greasy, dirty job, but necessary. Now clean, I have a few repairs to make in the morning and the pile is replenished for the next change.
The hens were not allowed out today...too darn bitter cold. So I brought them some treats. First some alfalfa cubes broken up and added to their grain feeder...they loved it! Then two tubs of snow. They love to eat snow! I left this tub for them and checked on them in a few hours and it was gone, empty. We have been leaving the warming lamp on 24/7 of late just to keep the coop at 20. Although they prefer dark at night I don't want to risk the coop getting too cold. Spoiled they all are but you need not wake in the night wondering if the animals, wild birds and hens at Long Ridge Farm are uncomfortable. Sleep well and Happy New Year!!!

3 comments:

  1. Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Having some peace of mind for the humans really is important too!

    I am not an expert in any way, shape or form on sheep GI tracts, but doesn't the sulfa bother their intestinal bacteria? Or does the short dose just kill the one bad (targeted) bug and leave the good ones?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just to give a reply for anyone interested in Anne's question....sulfa drugs are the best solution to treat coccidia and if kept to the three day course of treatment, the drug is not harmful to the overall health of the sheep's intestines. Sulfa drugs attack the bug in the earliest stages compared to other similar drugs such as Corrid.

    ReplyDelete