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Sheep/Shepherding/Sick sheep/not flourishing


QUESTION: We purchased 2 Desert Hair sheep and 4 6-month old male lambs a few weeks ago. A predator got to 2 of the babies before we figured out that our protections were not enough. Which left us with 2 young rams and the 2 adult female. One of the rams seems to be growing fine, and active, etc. The other has stayed small (I can't see that he has grown at all in the 3 to 4 weeks we have had them,) and has become less and less active. This morning, he wouldn't get up. I force fed him 4 oz of electrolytes with a syringe this afternoon. His poo is regular pellets, and I did see him pee once, so his bowels are working, and are not noticeably soft or bloody.

He sometimes grinds his teeth - I picked him up, I don't feel any gut movement in his lower belly, but am not sure what to look for. He seems to have some gas near his throat, but not sure if that is caused by me force feeding him. He is obviously small for his age, and isn't wanting to feed. He can't stand on his own, but is willing to "fight" me when I try to hold him. I also can't get him to open his mouth.

We have never owned lambs, so I am clueless what to look for. I called the people we got him from, and they suggested the same things I have already done, but don't hold much hope out for him.

ANY help or/and advice is MUCH appreciated!!!! Please and Thank you!

ANSWER: Hi Robin,
Me again!
Poor little guy is having a time! If it were my lamb I would give it a VIT B12 shot, sub-q; keep drenching with a mix of electrolytes and milk replacer and give him some yogurt.  If his mouth is stiff and it is more than just resistant, you may have a case of tetanus on your hands as well. If he has not had his OET (over eating tetanus) shot, do so immediately.
(2cc sub q)

Good luck to you and the little one.
All my best


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hey - the sheep is still alive. He is still not able to get up on his front legs. (My husband posted a video of him on youtube - Creepy Sheepy) to show what he is doing. :( We are not sure what else to do for him. He is eating now - on his own, and his poo is normal. I haven't seen him peeing lately, but haven't been able to spend lots of time with him either. The video is dark, but you can see that he has some good strength in his hind legs, but not so much the front.

We force fed him with electrolytes, milk and drench. We also added in some probiotics at times too. I made him eat for the first 2 1/2 days - forced him fluids. We just leave water and grass/feed for him now, and give him doses of drench/probiotics with some electrolytes a few times a day.

Steve has decided not to do much else for him - the cost is too high for an animal that is not a pet. :( But I am just not sure what else to do. His muscles do not seem too tight, and his gums, while pale, are not white. He is able to move decently, but can't get up. Clueless. I want to help him, and want to be kind, but just don't know what else to do.

Thanks so much - you have been much appreciated.

Sadly it sounds kind of like the beginning of the end. Poor thing and poor you.  I am sorry.
Unfortuneately there is a rule, you probably have heard of it, but if not.. the rule of 4 "s"s
Sick Sheep Seldom Survive.   Know that you have done everything in your power to help.

I wish you 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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