Last night sucked!

I got home and played with the idea of resetting my ElectroNet in the back field.  I took out the sheep and goats and let Kitty and Rose come along with us to the back pasture.  I looked at how tall the grass was, swatted a couple hundred mosquitoes off me and decided I was going to leave that job for the weekend.  I left the sheep and goats in the back field, put Kitty and Rose up, fed them and then fired up the lawnmower to re-mow the existing path where my ElectroNet is set now.  Shoot!  Forgot the lawnmower is not working correctly.  I think it might need a new spark plug.  I need to drop it off to the local lawnmower repair shop before the weekend.  Even though it sounded like it was going to die any minute, I was able to re-mow the path and reset the fence, all the while getting chewed on by mosquitoes. 

It was wonderfully cool and Gel and Fern were running around having a good time.  I needed to get into the house and process rabbits for the cats, but decided to take Gel and Fern for a quick run on the ATV.  When we got out into the back pasture, the sheep hightailed it into the far-back pasture.  Shoot!  Sent Gel to retrieve them and pushed them back into the pasture behind my house and took the dogs for a run.  When we got back into the pasture behind my house, I saw one lamb got left behind.  It was the ewe who had bottle jaw.  She’s no longer swollen in the jaw, but she’s still pretty anemic and likely got tired and couldn’t keep up with the rest of the lambs.  I sent Gel for her and of course she did just what a single lamb would do: ran like an idiot every which way but the way I wanted her to go.  Remember, the grass is extremely tall and there’s a lot of brush in the field as well so maneuvering was difficult for both the dog and the lamb.  When she headed into a section of woods which is all but impassable this time of year I thought for sure I would loose her.  Gel did something I’ve never seen him do: he leaped on top of her and took her down before she could get into the woods.  He laid on top of her keeping her from going deeper into the woods until I got to her.  I’ve never seen him do anything like that before and it was a very brilliant thing for him to do because, like I said, if she had gone into those woods, the vegetation is too dense for him to get a sheep out on his own (especially a crazy lamb) and I wouldn’t have been able to get in there to help him.

I put the lamb on the ATV and headed back to the house.  I put her on the grass and she just lied there.  Great, I thought, I am going to loose this lamb one way or another.  I re-dosed her with Ivermectin.  Not sure why because it hasn’t worked before, nor has Safeguard or Cydectin.  Decided not to try another dose of Basic H because I’m not convinced it is a viable cure.  Left that lamb and went back down to retrieve the sheep and goats from the back pasture.  Brought them up and when they passed the lamb that was lying down, she got up and went with them.  That was a good sign.

Then I mixed up the mineral mix that is detailed in Pat Coleby’s Natural Sheep book.  I put it in the fenced-in area and sprinkled a bit of sweet feed over it to entice the goats and sheep to eat the mineral mix.  I’ll only do this early on so that the goats and sheep know where the mineral is located.  After I put the sweet feed on it, Kitty went over to sample it.  By the time I had the goats and sheep up in the fenced-in area, Kitty was puking her guts out.  Lovely.  I figured I’d wake up this morning to a dead lamb and a dead dog.  The mineral mix contains copper sulphate which is often used in dog and cat food as a source of copper, but the label on the copper sulphate says it is harmful to domestic animals.  I know this is the right ingredient to use in my mineral mix and the amount that Kitty consumed was minuscule, but I was still concerned.

Went back into the house to a crowd of hungry, angry cats.  By now it was almost 8:00 and I had six rabbits to clean and process and I hadn’t eaten myself.  Quickly did three rabbits and fed the cats.  Popped some pasta into the microwave for myself, fed Gel and Fern and sat down for a few minutes to watch Bones.  While watching Bones, I finished my supper, processed the remaining rabbits, cleaned up the kitchen and went out to put the ducks up.  Checked on Kitty and the sheep.  Everyone seemed okay.  I didn’t get to bed untl after 10:00.

Got up this morning and went out with the flashlight to check on Kitty and the sheep.  Kitty was up and bouncing around.  I was able to easily tell which sheep was the one who was so ill last night because she still had burdocks on her coat from going in the woods.  Gel was still picking them out of his coat.  She was still up.  I moved everyone down to the ElectroNet, fed Kitty and Rose and took some mineral mix down for the sheep and goats.  I noticed the ewe who was sick was going for the mineral, which is a good thing.  Hopefully she instinctively knows what she needs and was taking advantage of it.  We’ll see how she is tonight.  If she survives, she is going to be culled from our flock.  I wish Wally and I had been better at our record keeping because I’m wondering if either this ewe or the wether who was treated for bottle jaw are out of that Dorper ewe who has had bottle jaw a couple of times now.  She’s going to get culled as well.  There is no reason for us to keep sheep or goats who are susceptible to worms or anything else for that matter.  If they cannot remain healthy with good nutrition and continually have to be chemically wormed, we don’t want them in our flock.  The wether is eventually going to be butchered and being a wether he isn’t going to pass on his genes so he isn’t a concern to me.

So, to recap my experiences with Shaklee’s Basic H as a wormer: I don’t think it works.  It could be that this ewe lamb was already too compromised by barber pole worms for it to work, or if I had redosed her Tuesday night instead of assuming she was better because her jaw was no longer swollen, maybe things would be different.  Hard to say.  I am looking forward to using copper wire particles and hope that is more successful.  Basic H is a good cleaning agent though.  It seems to soften the water and the solution does an amazing job at lifting dirt off surfaces.