Saturday, February 21, 2009

Vaccinating sheep

So I had my dad help me vaccinate sheep. Poor vaccine burns sometimes. I gave everyone their first shot today and will booster and the soon to be yearlings in about a month.

I was curious as to who might vaccinate their sheep and why they do or do not do it. Also, where do you give the vaccine, the brand of the vaccine and why again to both of those questions?

I didn't have enough for all of them so have to go and get more at Mills Fleet Farm when I'm in Fargo again on Thursday for dog class.

I also need to get fleece samples taken and sent out. Collecting from all the sheep....8 BFLs, 8 Shetland rams, 11 yearling Shetlands, 23 mature Shetland wonder my dad doesn't want to help...he has to hold them all.

The most fun is when my dad has the ewes sitting in his lap for hoof trimming. Most of them turn and stare right into his eye and he always says "tell Santa what you want for Christmas" I tell them I want ewe lambs, and they usually tell him (in his best sheep voice) that they want more hay and less hoof trimming. My dad is a nut. Guess that is where I get it from


Nancy K. said...

How wonderful that you're able to share your love for animals with your Dad!

I have GOT to get my flock's feet trimmed...

Becky Utecht said...

I like that part about your dad too Garrett. Very funny. :-)

Okay, I'll bite on your vaccination questions. :-)

After I lost a 5 week old moorit HST lamb (my first ever and out of two solid sheep!) to overeating disease (had a necropsy done to be sure what it was), I make sure to be up to date on CDT shots. I use Bar-Vac because it's readily available and comes in a 25 dose bottle. I find it's cheaper to buy a fresh small bottle, than to pay more for a big bottle of vaccine that might get outdated or contaminated and have to be tossed. The vaccine is inexpensive ($7.50/25 doses) and can save the heartache of losing a lamb. IMO, one would want to be sure of an up to date vaccination program whenever docking or castrating lambs.

We give shots to the ewes 4-8 weeks prior to lambing and then I make sure to vaccinate lambs at 8 and 12 weeks. If I find myself with a bottle lamb or two (only happened one year), they get CDT vaccinations every 4 weeks until they are 12 weeks old.

I give the shot in the loose skin on the back of the neck because that's where my first vet showed me to do it and I don't normally catch and tip the sheep for their shot. The adult's shots are normally given at shearing by the shearer in the neck, so there's no worry about abscesses being cut open during shearing. In my experience, the CDT shots don't seem to burn too much. Most of my lambs don't even notice they got their shot. I do it while they are all engrossed in eating a special treat. Sometimes I'll give the shot on their hip if I can't reach their neck in the mad scramble for treats.
I recently read that if you gave one shot to a lamb and then forgot to follow up with the second shot, that sheep will only need the one dose as a booster. The thing is the sheep is not fully protected until it gets the second dose. The first shot will only give about 4 weeks immunity. My vet said that lambs should get their last vaccination at 12 weeks or older, so that's why I do 8 and 12 weeks. Many times it the biggest, best lambs in the 5-6 week range that are lost to overeating disease, so some people start earlier and give three shots.
Well, I guess I went on too long there. Sorry!

Sharrie said...

That is quite a mental picture you painted with your description of hoof trimming. Must keep the sense of humor.

Juliann said...

I also do the Bar-Vac CD&T. I have heard of several people loosing Shetlands to overeating disease, it's inexpensive insurance. Plus, I have had horses in the past, so there is a tetanus risk.
I vaccinate the ewes one month before lambing. The lambs get a vaccination at 6 weeks, then again at 10.
All doses are 2 cc.
I give the shot either in the hairless area of the "armpit", or the neck.

Somerhill said...

Garrett, I was going to suggest you get a sheep turntable, but your Dad sounds like he's too much fun. :^)

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