Sheep/Shepherding/Sick? Sheep


We have raise sheep for meat. Most of our sheep are Katahdins.We have had 2 ewes die in the last 2 weeks. These sheep by all outward appearances were healthy. Eyelids were a healthy pink. Didn't have sours till several hours before they died. Didn't show signs of being sick. Both of them "acted" as if in labor and ready to lamb. Both had a little bit of bloody discharge.(vaginal)But they never made it through the night... Any ideas? If we have time we want to take the last ewe that died and have a necropsy done.

It's too bad you have lost two ewes and their lambs.  Its always tricky when it birthing time.

My first thought is that they were in labor longer than originally thought or that they suffered from some keto acidosis or diabetic reaction which happens from time to time in the late stages of pregnancy.

Grain alone does not do it for pregnant ewes, so adding some sweet feed ( molasses# and grain helps this issue a lot.

I don't know whether you do pregnancy/ sonogram tests or use a marking tool with the ram to indicate when the ewes should lamb, these are excellent tools to determine fairly closely when those lambs are due, how many and separate those ewes until they birth.

Let me know if you have any indicators that you get from the necropsy.

Best wishes in lambing for the new year. # some years are just rough.. weather sometimes has something to do with it, as well.)



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Kari Wempe


I can answer most questions about raising, breeding, feeding, showing,typical illnesses, pregnancy, birthing, bottle feeding,showing and sheering sheep. I have raised sheep for show and production for 20 years. The breeds of sheep I am most familier with are Crossbred, Suffolk, Hampshire- basically black face sheep. I deal with the classification of meat sheep over bred for wool sheep.


I have raised a flock of sheep for 20 years on our farm. Very involved in 4H, FFA aspects and their rules, jackpot shows, state, regional, county and local shows.

Experience is my best creditial however, I have a college education and have taught many classes ( in other catagories), so I am familiar in the ways of teaching others.

Awards and Honors
Many breed awards- champion and grand champion awards in Kansas for the past 20 years, showmanship awards at local and state level in Kansas.

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