Ram kneeling to eat?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by prhamell, Nov 19, 2004.

  1. prhamell

    prhamell Well-Known Member

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    I picked up a new hampshire ram for breeding in mid summer. When I seperated him from my ewes the first of August, I began noticing that he would kneel down (his front legs only) to eat the small amount of grain I would give him. I was feeding him in a very short bucket. I thought it might have been so he could guard it from the few stray chickens that always seemed to be in that area of the barn with him. But now that he's out with my ewes, I have been noticing him doing it while he's out in the pasture or eating hay that has fallen out of the hay bin. It's not all the time. Is this normal or a defect? I plan on keeping back a few of his offspring ewes to increase my flock, but not if this is going to be a trait. I'd rather not have my whole pasture full of sheep butts sticking up in the air. Any ideas? Becky
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Neck injury? Does he graze normally? It might just be a habit he picked up as a lamb, and it might have been so he could guard grain from the other lambs
     

  3. diamondefarm

    diamondefarm Well-Known Member

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    Probably was fed on the ground as a lamb and developed the bad habit then.
     
  4. Craftyshepherdess

    Craftyshepherdess Active Member

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    Probably true. The younger he is, the more likely this would be it. I would cover the bases by checking his front feet & legs, tho. If they are sore or his feet are overgrown this could be why he is avoiding leaning forward and down.

    -Tish
     
  5. sheeplady

    sheeplady Well-Known Member

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    In my experience, thats a sure sign of hoof problems. Catch him, tip him up and check his feet. Might just need trimming or worst case scenario, has scald or footrot. I haven't had a case in several years :) , but what works for me is to give a shot of LA200(long acting tetracycline), once every three days, usually just need to do it couple times, and flush the hoof area well with Hoof "N Heel ( Dr. Naylor Brand) or zinc sulfate. I sometimes wrap the hoof with clean wool soaked in that solution, a plastic sandwich bag over all, and wrap vet wrap tape over it. After a couple days the dressing will probably fall off, but thats long enough. If it is a bad case of footrot, it might warrant running your whole flock through a foot bath of zinc sulfate before it spreads.
     
  6. prhamell

    prhamell Well-Known Member

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    When I first picked him up, he needed a hoof trim. I did. I check all my sheep often. We have a lot of rocks in our pasture so I only need to trim about twice a year. I will check him again though. It's not all the time that he does this. I just watched him out in the pasture, eating normally. I'm wondering if it might be something he picked up as a lamb, guarding his food. When I got him, he was in a barn with about two dozen other lambs. Becky
     
  7. shepmom

    shepmom Well-Known Member

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    Ram-Ram( American Blackbelly) now being processed for the freezer locker did the same thing.

    He was healthy, but I figured either lazy or guarding to keep the other sheep away. :)
     
  8. stellie

    stellie Well-Known Member

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    The only times they do this (generally)?

    a) Laziness (but not usually)
    b) Hoof problems (scald, rot, needs a trim or has something stuck in the hoof)
    c) Arthritus (due to old age)

    If the hoof stinks, it's a sure sign of rot. Not always visible, though -- hope things are going well with him!
     
  9. prhamell

    prhamell Well-Known Member

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    Well I checked my ram's (and everyone else's feet) yesterday. Made a few minor trims but all is well in the hoof department. My husband told me that some of my wethers do that too. But not as much as my ram. My wethers are not blood related to my new ram either. So maybe it's just a guarding the food issue. I'll keep an eye on things. Thanks all for the replies! Becky
     
  10. Rosarybeads

    Rosarybeads Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, some of our sheep used to do this too... Not sure why, but I guess it was just habit, they were all healthy, no foot problems, etc... Some just liked to do it. Actually, they may pick this up when they are lambs, alot of lambs will get down on their knees to nurse... Maybe it is just like a kid sucking their thumb! :D
     
  11. new

    new Guest

    Had a ram lamb do this once a few years ago. I can't remember what our vet said it was, but he said to give him 7mls of penicillian for 7 days and by day 4 he had stopped doing it and we continued for 7 days. Problem cleared up.