Thursday, July 17, 2008

Testing your flock and eating your rams

When I first started with sheep it was my goal to test my entire flock for diseases such as OPP, CL, Johne's and Brucellosis. I had also heard of testing for Tuberculosis and was trying to find a diagnostic lab that tested for all of them from one blood draw.

I think I've settled on WADDL (just google it) for a place to test. Granted my flock is slightly larger than most, so it might be more expensive but its better for 'peace of mind' than to be paranoid about it (hey that's my personality!)

WADDL tests for Johne's, OPP/CAE (CAE is in goats, OPP in sheep) and CL. OPP and Johne's are each 6.00 per test, while CL is 9.00 per test. I highly doubt my flock has any of them, especially CL (as its quite noticeable) but am going to go ahead and do all yearlings and older for OPP and Johne's. In this day and age, every little bit helps when trying to keep your flock healthy, and it doesn't hurt when selling your animals either, that they are negative of such and such a disease. People seem to rest easier, even if they didn't think about that when purchasing in the first place.

I will keep you posted, maybe even take photos, when the vet is out to take the blood draws.

On a slightly different note I'm quite excited for the first butcher lambs! WOHOO! I grew out four ram lambs from last year, plus one I purchased and wanted to see what thier fleeces would micron at, how their horns grew and what their disposition would be. I was amazed at how soft most of the boys were, and realized I was dealing with abherrent horns in all of the boys too! How crazy!

I am quite sad to see three of them go, as they all microned at 18.9AFD, 21.5AFD, 22.3 AFD and such a waste I think, but who wants scurred rams? And who wants horns/scurs you have to keep trimming? I'm quite excited to see what i get back...I hope its enough meat! I'm getting all breakfast sausage and lamb brats (thanks Cynthia and Gail!) and am tickled pink to think of how great its going to taste!

Come on over for a BBQ! We can supply you now with lamb, beef, pork and deer, and OH chicken!


Kara said...

Hey Garret,
I did the same thing. This spring I had all my yearlings and older tested for OPP and Johne's and when all came back negative it was a good feeling for peace of mind. I will have my new ones done too.(Although if you do your Minwawe girls and all are negative maybe I don't need to test mine right away) The other thing I was thinking about was testing my rams for scrapies resistance. I guess if they are RR they are resistant to getting the disease even if exposed and will always pass on an R to their offspring. I worry about stuff like that and when I think about showing my sheep I wonder if it is worth the risk? However I would love to get the girls out there to promote interest in Shetlands in our area.

Juliann said...

Hi Garrett,

Hey, thanks! I had NO idea there was a bloodtest for Johnes, I had always heard there wan't. Maybe I'll do my entire flock next year, just to do it.
It is a challenge to market the aberrants/larger scurred ram lambs. I just shipped some myself. I do have a fawn gul-kat with larger scurs that I might hold over to see how his scurs turn out, though.

Kara, scrapie is difficult to get into your flock. The sheep has to be exposed to placenta of a carrier, or eat sheep brains/spinal cord of an infected sheep. I just hate seeing people cull good QQs that will never get the disease. Just my thoughts on it.

Available sheep

With my work load continuing to pile up, and less time to spend with the sheep, I am offering the following: My entire flock of BlueFaced ...