Sheep Care, Health & Well Being
Unfortunately, sheep often suffer from internal parasites as well as other diseases. Sheep farmers deworm their sheep often (get advice from your local licensed vet). In special shops, you can find sheep deworming products of different types (pills, sprays, injections, pastes etc.). We may also have to vaccinate our sheep once a year (against overeating, clostridium and other diseases), always after consulting our vet. Sheep of special needs may require more frequent vaccination.
Furthermore, we must regularly check for the wellbeing of our sheep. Diarrhea is a common symptom of a sheep illness. Having watery eyes or nose, isolating from the herd, not chewing, not drinking water, sleeping all day and not being able to stand up are also some of the signs that something is wrong. For any case, we must always have in hand the telephone number of the local licensed veterinarian. In many cases, the vet will ask you the rectal temperature of your sheep, before deciding on coming to your property or not. The normal rectal temperature for sheep is 100.9–103.8 °F (38.3–39.9 °C).
In many countries, it is very common for sheep owners to cut the tales of their sheep so as to prevent hygienic problems (long tails normally get covered by manure and attract flies). However, you should contact your local licensed vet for further instructions. Sheep farmers also trim the sheep hooves (with a hook trimmer) in order to prevent infections (foot rot). We have to check their hooves every two weeks, but trimming should take place less often than in goats (goats need hoof trimming normally every 2 months and sheep every 3-4 months, but we should be more cautious in wet conditions). Finally, many farmers cut off sheep hair at least once a year, preferably in the period before the summer heat. Some specific sheep breeds need 2-3 haircuts per year.
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6.) Sheep Care Basics
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