Helping Others

Last March I sold four sheep, a ram and three ewes, to a person I knew. They waited a year for me to get the lambs born, weaned and ready to sell them their starter flock. When the lambs were born, I informed them I would have sheep to sell them. They asked a lot of questions, I was glad to answer. They had helped me by feeding my sheep for a week when I was on vacation. After caring for my sheep, they wanted some of their own, from my flock.

Two weeks ago, they called asking me which veterinarian I used to treat my sheep. I told them, then asked what the problem was. They told me one of the ewes had a prolapse. I said I would be by later that day to take a look.

I had only treated vaginal prolapse one time in my flock, and the ewe was very old and carrying twins. By their description I was not sure which type of prolapse the ewe was exhibiting. They were worried that the ewe would be injured or have a serious infection if they waited for a prolapse harness to arrive through delivery. None of our livestock supply stores sell a prolapse harness.

Upon arrival, and looking at the lambs that had grown into some beautiful sheep, I saw the problem. A big ewe with vaginal prolapse. She was very heavy with lambs. I told them this ewe is very pregnant with twins and close to delivery. The ewe had a really full udder, and was very loose in the hips and pelvic area. There was a vaginal prolapse, but it was only on the outside when the ewe laid down. But I had a solution. Item needed was some hay twine. They looked at me like I was joking. Then I explained to them what I was going to do.

I had seen a veterinarian use a piece of twin on a pregnant goat with vaginal prolapse a couple weeks before delivery of triplets. I also had seen a video on youtube using the same technique. Before putting this harness in place, I gently cleaned the exposed tissue with water and then with olive oil to keep soars from forming due to the dryness created from cleaning. I also put on gloves and checked to see if she was dilated, no cervix was closed. I had used this technique on my very old ewe and it worked. I built the harness from the hay twine just like the veterinarian did.

Today I received the happy news. A text message with a picture of a ewe and twins. My friend’s ewe had delivered a healthy set of twins. They were large twins. My friend was so happy I had helped them with their ewe, but also thrilled they had purchased their sheep from me.

I had made a point to sell them some ewes that I would have kept. The ram was not related to the ewes and out of one of my best commercial ewes. I still have the mother and twin sister to their ewe who just had twins. I work hard in the breeding of my sheep to raise good genetics. The very old ewe who had a vaginal prolapse and twins, I sold both the ewe and lambs at auction. I do not think this prolapse was genetic, just a little overweight ewe carrying large twins.

I am very careful in the selection of sheep I sell to individuals. The reason is I want them to come back to purchase more sheep. Eventually they will need a different ram. I want them to come to me for the next ram. I enjoy helping other sheep farmers succeed. I am very careful in offering advice or treating someone else’s sheep. If I did not have the relationship and trust as friends, as I do with those I helped, I would not assist, but refer them to a veterinarian.

I am not a licensed veterinarian, and do not present myself as an animal doctor. I do treat my own animals, even sew up wounds. I worked as a veterinarian technician for several years and was taught how to sew up wounds and wound care. But there is so much I do not know, and therefore I take my animals to the veterinarian when I do not have the knowledge or tools to treat the animal. Know your own abilities when it comes to treating your animals. If I had thought I was not able to help the animal, I would not have done anything to help. When I went to look at my friend’s ewe, I also had a plan on how to get the ewe to a veterinarian that day.

Do not rely on others to show or tell you their methods, as some do not work.



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