Help please - ram choking on feed

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by RandB, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. RandB

    RandB Well-Known Member

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    Has anybody seen a problem like this - for the last several days, one of our rams is having a major problem eating grain. He takes one or two mouthfuls, then runs around shaking his head, making a sort of cough-hiccup sound, contorts his mouth all around, gives up trying to eat the grain. Some clear drool comes out of his mouth, not a huge amount though.
    A little bit later when we give them hay, he is able to eat the hay, just fine. Only grain is giving him a problem. He has been eating the same grain for his whole life, no problems before now.

    Any ideas what we should look for? My first thought was some kind of mouth problem, although I don't understand how eating hay would not bother him, too.
    Does this sound like any kind of respiratory thing, maybe a sore throat or something?? I am also wondering if he has had some kind of injury, as about a week ago, DH saw one of the other ones ram him hard enough to completely upend him onto his back. This weekend we will try to catch him and examine him closer in the daylight, although he is a difficult ram to catch and handle. Does it sound like we should medicate him in some way, or just see what happens? Any advice would be appreciated ! Thanks !
     
  2. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

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    This is a fairly common problem if sheep are competing for grain or if you pile the grain too deep in one spot where they grab too much in one mouthful. Also, if you have large pellets in the feed they will be more likely to choke. I have also witnessed this problem if the sheep have to run to feeders at feeding time.

    You can try spreading the grain out in larger feeders so that it is spread thin. You can also put rocks about the size of your fist in his food dish and make him eat around them, thus slowing him down. Most choke cases resolve themselves uneventfully but a peice of half inch garden hose tubing should be kept around for emergencies. My idea is that he is trying to get his fair share first!
     

  3. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Oh, man, I'm glad you asked that question! And glad you answered it, Sue!! I've got a ewe who was doing the same thing...foaming at the mouth and everything. No competition, she just gulped it down too fast.
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Certainly grab a look at the ram, sounds like he's being a pig, but you can look for teeth problems breathing problems and general condition. Take his temperature while you've got him. Some sheep with acidosis will throw up their grain, and need baking soda but they're generally off feed all together.
     
  5. SmokedCow

    SmokedCow Well-Known Member

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    hey thanks everyone! We have the same problem with some of ours..Only ours get really foamy and u can see that corn they toss back up! Thanks for the help not only for the other posters....but for me to!
    AJ
     
  6. RandB

    RandB Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions - he IS a little piggy at feed time - we have several feeders and he runs between them trying to eat while at the same time NOT let anybody else eat. That rocks in the feeder is an idea - I had to do that with a horse, once. What concerns me is that it was happening at every feeding time, not just once in awhile.

    My other concern with him is that he seems to be "shedding" off some wool on his back. He is a Cheviot - they are not a shedding breed, as far as I know. He did this a little last year, but it grew back OK. The weather this past month has been very wet - I am guessing this causes it? It's too cold for any parasite problems.
     
  7. SmokedCow

    SmokedCow Well-Known Member

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    We have this happending to our ewes mostly on the necks, mosyly from the hay feeder. If its on the rumbs it might be ring worm. To take care use a tree pestiside called Drac-a-nil (Dracanil) Its phoneticly spelt. It works great and the idea of useing this was givin to use by our vet. I think any tree pestiside that kills fungi will work. REMEMBER: USE EYE WEAR AND GLOVES...i you get this in your eyes...THEY WILL BURN! Trust me....it helps to spray on the area when its not windy....ALSO....You have to Mix equal parts of the spray with WATER....Good luck!
    Aj
     
  8. adnilee

    adnilee Well-Known Member

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    We had the exact same problem with one of our ewes that has twins. She would throw up the grain. This started a few weeks before she lambed. Then one day (several weeks after lambing) she got really swollen on her left side. We figured it was bloat and gave her 2 drenches of Baking soda and warm water followed by 60ml of Mineral oil. This did the trick and she has been fine ever since. She is also loosing all her wool (you can literally pull off sheets of it down to the skin) and I was told that this may have been from having a temp.

    Good luck,
    Adrian