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Old 10/11/03, 06:26 PM
Ross's Avatar
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ontario
Posts: 12,470
Sheep basics

I thought I'd post as stickies a few sites or posts that will give some general information on keeping sheep. Suggestions are very welcome!

How to condition score a sheep Click here

Sheep breeds library Click Here

Ron Parkers Sheep book online Click Here

The Maryland Small Ruminant page Click here

The Merck Veterinary Manual Online Click here

A Canadian online veterinary medicine compendium, (read the disclaimer and click the continue button) Click here

Pipestone vet sells supplies but also answers sheep health questions {INFORMATION NUMBER: [507] 825-5687
Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm (CST)} Clcik Here


Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup........

Last edited by Ross; 09/07/04 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 10/17/03, 08:06 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ontario
Posts: 12,470
Sheep health and calling a vet

Keeping sheep healthy is not very hard. So long as it has enough suitable feed, (vacinations and worming if you're not organic farming) mineral and salt, has a chance to get out of the wind and rain (and even that isn't a requirement in warmer climates) sheep stay healthy. They will still get sick despite your best efforts from time to time and eventually you'll need outside help. Your vet may coin a cute saying something like this. There's a 4 "S" rule to sheep farming. Sick Sheep Seldom Survive, you may not see the humour in that, I know I didn't. The point is vets see too many hopeless cases far too late to for them to help. Sick sheep need prompt attention!
So you have sheep that looks poorly, at least to you it does. You can't find or think of an answer so you're going to call the vet. Great, use it as a learning experience too. Most vet calls here are if I'm worried about flock health because of the sick sheep or am really stumped. It can be hard to get a vet to examine a sheep, so if you call armed with relevant information that shows first, you're on the ball and second, that he/she isn't wasting their time making that vist to your farm, you just might have better luck. Large animal vets rarely stay in the job for the money, they want to make a difference and enjoy the work. Hopefully it won't be a big problem getting a vet out although I've heard of some horror stories. (There is a phone number to Pipestone Vet Clinic that will answer sheep health Q's free of charge in the Sheep Basics post if you're really stuck) What does the vet need to hear from you up front? The breed, sex, age, status ( bred, open, with "X" month old lambs) vacination and worming history and any other meds, temperature, eating, rumination, and manure charactor, feeds and changes to feed, body score, and noted symptoms of the sheep you're calling about. Sounds like a lot but only takes a few seconds to rattle off most of the time certainly less than it took to take it's temperature. Hopefully the vet is suitably impressed (or at least curious about you) and is coming. How do you greet him/her? A nice bucket or two of warm water and a couple of towels ready wouldn't hurt, the sick beast penned in a well lit easily accessable area even better! You should have a notebook and pen ready and be dressed to help. Offer to help! Manure samples can be helpful, or anything else relevant like bloody milk etc. If the sheep has a medical history it might help to have it handy too. I try to keep a phone close too. Have a knife and rope handy, if you have shears to clip the wool have them handy too. Ask questions, you're hiring the brain too so work in lots of questions however they're related to the sick animal. If you're hearing too much latin say so and ask for clarification! Use that pen and notebook to write some of the advice down too! It's easy to forget in all the fuss but try to keep some notes going! If there is medication needed write down the instructions and ask about withdrawl times even if you're not going to ship the animal. (It's kind of an etiquete thing, just the right thing to do!) Ask about quarenteen times from the rest of the flock, and remember the sheep was part of the flock when it got sick so ask about early warning signs for the rest of the flock and preventative measures. A short reveiw of your managment in effect. That might even warrent a seperate call to discuss an improved plan!! Ask what you should expect for the sick animal and for any supportive help you can give. It's a good time to get a demonstration for tube feeding eleltrolites etc. if you've never done it before!
Hopefully the sick sheep is on the road to recovery but make follow up calls if things change, even if the sheep has recovered.

That's a lot to read but hopefully it helps.


Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup........

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Old 10/21/03, 07:07 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Iowa
Posts: 27

Thanks for writing about this. I had to wing it the 1st time i called the vet and your info would have come in very handy.


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Old 10/22/03, 06:16 PM
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Location: Now in Virginia
Posts: 8,246

Here is a good one for people that like to be able to skirt their fleece for sale or their own use..


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Old 12/13/03, 04:08 PM
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Plants Toxic to sheep & Goats

Plants that are Toxic to Sheep & Goats..........

Alkaloid Containing Plants: Alk "Any of a large class of organic, nitrogen-containing ring compounds that have a bitter taste, that are usually water-insoluble and alcohol-soluble, that form water-soluble salts, and usually exhibit pharmacological action, as nicotine, morphine, or quinine."

Cyanogenetic Containing Plants: Cya "These plants are usually deadly when damaged or frozen."

Glucosides - Glycosides Containing Plants: Gls "Any of the class of compounds that yield a sugar and a noncarbohydrate upon hydrolisis."

Plants That Cause Mechanical Injury: Int "It should be obvious that some plants and shrubs have physical characteristics that would be injurious to animals - thorned plants as an example. Certainly some thorned and spiked plants may be eaten but once they reach the palate, punctures and tears can occur internally which cause a great degree of injury. Also, certain plants are known to 'twine' or 'bind' causing great intestinal difficulties."

Saponin Containing Plants: "Any of a group of amorphous glucosidal compounds of steroid structure, characterized by an ability to form emulsions and to foam in aqueous solutions, and used as detergents."

Volatile/Essential Oils Containing Plants: "Some plants, trees and shrubs contain volatile chemicals that go beyond 'general classification' and are thus unique. This simply means that there may be one or more ingredients within the chemical structure of a plant that causes adverse reactions in the animals who ingest it."

Photosensitizing Plants: Pht "This type of plant will cause a reaction whereas the ingredients interact with light. An animal ingesting such a plant is susceptible to sunburn, heat related illnesses, etc. Not all photosensitizing are considered extremely harmful, however, dependent upon climatic conditions/light, this class of plants can do great damage if the animal is not monitored."

Tannic Acid Containing Plants: "I am currently researching Tannic Acid. I am somewhat intrigued by this particular ingredient since many Oak trees contain Tannic Acid and this basically provides much conjecture with the belief that fresh, green oak leaves are soothing to sick goats. I will write more on this subject at a later date."

Resin Containing Plants: "This area is also under research since it has been a common practice for many goat owners to feed their discarded Christmas trees to their goats. Apparently this is not such a good idea as while it may not produce immediate, noticeable results, it can be a cause of abortions months later."

Aconite Alk
Alder Buckthorn
Allspice Alk
Alsike Clover Pht
Alsike CLover
American Elder
American Holly
American Mistletoe
American Yew
Angel's Trumpet
Aroid Family
Arrow Grass Cya
Arrowhead Vine
Asparagus Fern
Autumn Crocus
Avocados Alk
Bagpod Vol
Balsam Pear
Baneberry Vol
Barberry Alk
Belladonna Lily (Amarylis)
Bird Of Paradise
Bird Rape
Black Cherry Cya
Black-Eyed Susan
Black Henbane
Black Locust Cya
Black Nightshade Alk
Black Oak
Black Snake Root Alk
Black Walnut Cya
Bleeding Heart
Bloodroot Alk
Blue Cardinalflower
Blue Cohosh Cya
Blue Flag Iris
Bouncing Bet
Boston Ivy
Boxwood Alk
Bracken Fern
Brake Fern
Broad Bean
Broomcarn Cya
Broom Snakeweed
Buckeye (Horse chestnut) Cya
Buckwheat Pht
Bulbuous Buttercup
Bur Buttercup
Burke's Lupine
Burning Bush
Buttercups Vol
Calico Bush
California Bluebell
California Rose-bay
Canada Nettle
Canada Yew
Canadian Milk-vetch
Caper Spurge
Castor Bean
Celandine Alk
Celery-leaved Buttercup
Cherry Cya
Chinese Evergreen
Chinese Lantern
Choke Cherry Cya
Christmas Rose
Climbing Nightshade
Clover Int
Cocklebur Int
Coffee Weed
Colorado Rubberweed
Common Comfrey
Common Groundsel
Common Hop
Common Milkweed Cya
Common Nightshade
Common Poppy Alk
Common Privet
Common Tansy
Common Vetch
Corn Cockle Cya
Corn Poppy
Creeping Charlie
Creeping Fig
Crotalaria Alk
Crow Poison Alk
Crown of Thorns
Cut Leaved Coneflower
Cut-Leaf Philodendron
Cypress Spurge
Death Camas Alk
Delphinium (ornamental)
Devil's Backbone
Devil's Ivy
Devil's Weed
Dicentra Alk
Discarded Christmas Trees
Dog Hobble
Dogbane Cya
Downy Brome Grass Int
Drunk Cane
Dutchman's Breeches


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Old 12/13/03, 04:09 PM
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2nd part..
Eastern Whorled Milkweed
Elderberry Cya
Elephant Ears
Emerald Duke
English Bluebell
English Holly
English Ivy
English Yew
Entire Leaved Groundsel
European Buckthorn
European Elder
European Spindletree
Fall Crocus
False Hellebore Alk
False Jessamine Alk
False Ragweed
February Daphne
Field Horsetail
Five Hooked Bassia
Flamingo Lily
Fly Honeysuckle
Friar's Cap
Fume Wort Alk
Garden Sorrel
Garland Daphne
Gas Plant
Giant Dumbcane
Giant Hogweed
Glory Lily
Goat Weed
Golden Chain Tree
Golden Rain
Golden Trumpet
Grass Pea
Greater Celandine
Green Dragon
Green False Hellebore
Green Tansy Mustard
Ground Cherry
Ground Ivy
Guelder Rose
Hairy Vetch
Heart Leaf Philodendron
Hellebore Alk
Helmet Flower
Hemp Alk & Cya
Hemp Dogbane
Horse Chestnut
Horse Nettle Alk & Cya
Horse Radish
Hound's Tongue

Iceland Poppy
Indian Hemp Cya
Indian Mustard
Indian Poke Alk
Indian Turnip
Indian Tobacco

Ivy Cya
Japanese Plum
Japanese Wisteria
Japanese Yew
Jerusalem Cherry
Jimsonweed Alk
Johnson Grass Int
Johnson Grass Cya
Kafir Lily>Cya
Kentucky Coffeetree
Klamath Weed
Lamb's Quarters
Lantana (photodynamic)
Large Leaved Lupine
Larkspur Alk
Laurel Cya
Leafy Spurge
Leucothoe Cya
Lily of the Valley Cya
Lobelia Alk
Low Larkspur
Lupines Alk

Maidenhair Tree
Maleberry Cya
Mandrake Alk
Marble Queen
Marijuana Cya
Marijuana Alk
Marsh Arrow Grass
Marsh Horsetail
Marsh Marigold
Matrimony Vine
Mayapple Alk
Menzies Larkspur
Mescal Bean
Mesquite Int
Mexican Breadfruit
Milkweeds Cya
Mock Orange
Monkey Pod
Monkshood Alk
Moonseed Alk
Morning Glory
Mother In Law Plant
Mountain Laurel
Multi-flora Rose Int
Musk Thistles Int
Naked-flowered Sneezeweed
Nap At Noon
Night shade Alk
Nightshade Cya
Northern Water Hemlock
Nux Vomica
Ohio Buckeye
Oleander Cya
Opium Poppy
Oriental Poppy
Ornamental Hypericums Pht
Osage Orange
Peaches Cya
Peruvian Lily
Petty Spurge
Pin Cherry
Pink Death Camas Alk
Pink Lady's Slipper
Plums Cya
Poison Darnel Alk
Poison Hemlock Alk
Poison Ivy
Poison Laurel
Poison Suckleya
Poison Sumac
Poison rye grass Alk
Poke Alk
Pokeberry Alk

Pokeweed Alk
Ponderosa Pine
Pot and Spider Mum
Poverty Grass Int
Precatory Pea
Prickly Comfrey
Prickly Lettuce
Prostrate Pigweed

Purple Cockle
Purple Locoweed
Purple Sesban

Rain Tree
Rape Pht
Rattleweed Alk
Red Chokecherry
Red Clover
Red Maple
Red Oak
Redroot Pigweed
Red Princess
Reed Canarygrass
Rhododendron Cya
Rock Poppy Alk
Rosary Pea
Russian Knapweed
Saddle Leaf
Sand Burr Int
Scarlet Pimpernel
Scotch Broom
Seaside Arrow Grass
Sensitive Fern
Sevenbark Cya
Sheep Laurel
Sheep Sorrel
Show Lady's Slipper
Showy Milkweed
Siberian Scilla
Silky Lupine
Silver Cya
Silvery Lupine
Skunk Cabbage
Smooth Pigweed
Sneezewood Sorghum Cya
Soldier's Cap
Sorghum Cya
Sour Dock
Southern Mountain Laurel
Spider Lily
Spatulate Leaved Heliotrope
Spotted Cowbane Alk
Split Leaf

Spotted Dumbcane
Spotted Water Hemlock Alk
Sprangeri Fern
Spreading Dogbane
Spurge Laurel
Squirrel Corn
Squirrel Tail Grass Int
St. John's Wort Pht
Stagger brush Cya
Stagger grass Alk
Staggerweed Alk
Star of Bethlehem
Stinging Nettle
Stinking Rabbitbrush
Stoned Fruits Cya
Sudan Grass Cya
Sunburned Potatoes
Sun Spurge
Sweet Pea
Sweet Shrub Alk
Swiss Cheese Plant
Tall Larkspur
Tall Manna Grass
Tansy Ragwort
Tartarian Honeysuckle
Thin Leaved Snowberry
Thorn Apple Alk
Timber Milk Vetch
Tomato Vine
Tree of Heaven
Tri-Leaf Wonder
Two Grooved Milk Vetch

Umbrella Plant
Varebells Alk
Veined Dock
Velvet grass Cya
Velvety Goldenrod
Virginia Creeper
Water Hemlock Alk
Weeping Fig
Western Bleedingheart
Western Minniebush
Western Poison Oak
Western Water Hemlock
Western Yew
White Baneberry
White Camas
White Cohish
White Clover
White Hellebore
White Rose Bay
White Sanicle
White Snakeroot Cya
Wild Black Cherry Cya
Wild Cabbage
Wild Calla

Wild CherriesCya
Wild False Indigo
Wild Ginger
Wild Hydrangea Cya
Wild Indigo
Wild Mustard
Wild Onion
Wild Parsnip Alk
Wild Radish
Wolfs-bane Alk
Wormseed Mustard

No Listings
Yellow Iris
Yellow Jessamine Alk
Yellow Lady's Slipper
Yellow Rocket
Yellow Sage
Yellow Star Thistle
Yellow Sweet Clover
Yellow Toadflax
Yew (ornamental)
No Listings


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Old 06/29/04, 10:38 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 40


When I move my flock of 26 to a new pasture the first thing they do is eat the leaves off the milkweed plants!!
Since then I have been picking and destroying all I can but it is a loosing battle.
Why don't they get sick? Why do they eat it if the pasture is lush with legumes, treefoil, clover orchard grass etc.
Any ideas?

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Old 07/11/04, 01:45 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: KS
Posts: 3
Toxic Sheep

I guess my little guy is pretty toxic. He ate his fill in poison ivy this spring then he ate my english ivy and bamboo and... in fact his least favorite is the grass in his yard. :-) I will ask him to stop eating these toxic things, but I hold out little hope for that. My guy is a pet and our yard contains half of the plants on your list...

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Old 06/20/05, 08:46 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ontario
Posts: 12,470

Just bumping a few posts so they hopefully won't get pruned


Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup........

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Old 09/27/05, 11:58 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 639

Geez, is there anything they can eat? I can't identify and pick all those out but the only thing I was worried about which I don't think I saw was any of my pine trees or whatever trees have needles on them. Right? They weren't on the list? I hope.

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Old 09/28/05, 06:17 AM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ontario
Posts: 12,470

My sheep don't eat much if any ever green needles and I know my SIL made spruce beer once from the spruce tips. Was pretty good too. The toxic plant list is pretty general, some of that stuff is only toxic under some conditions and some is pretty mild, causing no reaction normally.


Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup........

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Old 01/12/08, 10:34 PM
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Location: Ontario
Posts: 12,470

Just keeping this thread current so its not pruned


Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup........

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Old 01/13/08, 05:16 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Eastern North Carolina
Posts: 31,299

More good information sites (Also has other livestock)

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Old 01/14/08, 03:11 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 479

Doing my part to keep the thread current so it isn't pruned.

Purdue has some good information:

An online sheep economic form to help you determine potential income of various options:

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