Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Breeding Healthy Sheep

Whilst I am certainly no expert in sheep health I have learned a lot about keeping the stock healthy over the past eight years. When we first started breeding there were some skinny sheep in what looked like really good pasture. We drenched the sheep and the next days 2 of them were dead in the paddock. Not a good start to breeding sheep. Kim did some internet research and found Pat Coleby's book "Healthy Sheep Naturally". We read the book cover to cover and it made good sense. Kim also read stories of other farmers who had successfully used Pat's methods. Kim built the mineral stations and the sheep self administer the minerals. This has led to a reduction in the need to worm sheep with commercial drenches. Although in wet conditions worms will be a problem for sheep and cause weight loss, lung conditions and death if not managed carefully. If, prolonged wet conditions prevail we drench and keep the minerals.

 Front Cover

More recently, Kim noticed some sheep were looking poor again despite drenching and minerals. He spoke to guy a Delta Agricultural at Yass. He explained about the sheep's mineral tank and how the mineral stores can become depleted. He recommended seaweed meal. Kim told him that we had seaweed meal out for the sheep but he was worried about overdosing them. Mr Delta Ag advised us to give the sheep as much seaweed meal as they wanted. So that's what we did. Here is a picture of our beautiful healthy and some very heavily pregnant ewes

We purchased 4 20kg bags of seaweed meal and placed 1 bag in each mineral station. The 20 kg of seaweed meal costing almost $100 was gone in a few hours. It was an expensive exercise that we could not afford to continue. However, Mr Delta Ag told us when the sheep’s mineral tank is full they will stop eating the mineral in large quantities. On the 4th day the sheep did stop eating the meal in such large amounts. A few weeks later you could not tell which sheep were poor as they all looked great.

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