Vaccinating and Other Treatments

With shearing completed and the ewes now wool-less our next step is vaccinating. Since vaccinations are given by needle it is easier to do when there is only a short coat of wool on the animal. Shearing also revealed a few sheep Keds on the ewes so we also needed to treat with a product to rid them of these blood sucking insects.

We only see Keds every two or three years. Even though only a few Keds were spotted this year, we like to treat sooner, rather than later. It doesn’t take long for Keds to get out of hand. Treatment is via a liquid product, trickled alone the neck and back of the animal. If it needs to be done, right after shearing is the time to do it, since there is little/no fleece to hinder the product from doing its job.

In hindsight, I have been lax in keeping up with the complete mineral mix this winter and have been relying on the kelp to pull through. Sulphur is one of the components in my mix and sulphur is what prevents external parasites. Interesting that Keds showed up when sulphur wasn't always made available. I guess we could have treated the ewes by dusting sulphur along their backs but I didn't think of it before we started.

Having had a couple days to recover from shearing we decided to vaccinate and get it done. We adjusted our set up in the shearing shed, moving the alleyway from against the wall to out in the middle so that we could work on the side we favour and also sort ewe lambs off to the opposite side. This is one bonus of having portable panels, rather than fixed, for use in the indoor space. Yes, you have to move them but you can move them, thus suiting other purposes as well.

I wanted the ewe lambs sorted off because there are a group of them that I need for dog training and for an upcoming stock dog clinic and trial in May. Plus if they are all sorted now it will be simpler to give them their second vaccination in six weeks time. We won’t have to bring the entire flock in again to do so and returning a smaller group to the flock afterward is a pretty simple affair. 

We headed out to pasture on the Ranger, taking both Jayde and Cajun along. We want to be sure all the animals come in and the pasture they are on is an awful one for finding sheep on. It is hilly, it is incredibly rough due to being cultivated two years ago and then sitting idle, and it is full of tall residue that makes it difficult to find animals. Traveling on the Ranger makes it so much easier to check all the draws and corners where sheep can easily be missed by a person on foot and a dog. Eventually the goal is to swap the ranger for a horse but that’s another endeavor.  

Jayde and I were dropped off at the back of the pasture and began moving a group of sheep along a well used trail. Allen and Cajun continued on with the Ranger.

Jayde and I, and Allen and Cajun, met up again on the opposite side of the pasture, closer to the gate. Jayde was working nicely on her own and I just let her continue, noting how she readily pushes her sheep in the open space. Together we took the flock home. Once at the yard, Cajun was allowed to join her to help steer the flock into the shearing shed. Being that he had just watched sheep moving about for close to an hour while he rode along, he added a bit of jam - too much so really.

And so for the second time in a week we had the entire main flock in the shed (rams are elsewhere). Spring is the time our ewes see the building the most. After this they likely won’t be back in the shed for a few months.

It took Allen and I the full day to get all the ewes vaccinated and treated for Keds. We gave worming medication to 22 animals, thus also completing our usual springtime worming.

Cajun worked in the building, bringing sheep up to the race when needed and it was he and I who took the flock back to pasture again in the early evening.

A lot of work has happened in one week. Just the rams left to finish up with, oh, and the cows. We’ll tackle them and the few cows next week. Right now, I’m enjoying the very satisfied feeling of completing a couple major tasks and looking forward to a fun day of working stock dogs with friends on Sunday.