Small Ruminant Anemia
I would suspect that anemia is one of the more common health problems among small ruminants of sheep and goats. With dairy breeds, they are high-performance milk producers and can feel the impact of anemia very hard.
This picture is of one of my goats I brought home after buying her knowing she was joining us severely anemic. She's a little wet because she didn't seek shelter in a morning drizzle, something I remedied right away after taking her picture. I'm sure there is a lot to know anemia, but here is the little information I have that might help out a few other homesteaders.
If you're new to sheep or goats or haven't had them before, this is what I share with people who inquire about getting them. Often it is with the idea of keeping weeds at bay or having fresh easy milk on hand. Neither are necessarily a bad idea, but it's likely not quite as simple as most people think. Everyone has a learning curve, and this is designed to give you an introduction into casually keeping goats or sheep.
We have sold meat retail by the cut or as locker meat (in bulk). We regularly get questions about how much meat someone will take home. I asked the same thing when I was new to buying meat direct. I didn't want to pay twice the price and get half the meat. Yes, I wanted humanely raised meat. Of course I wanted to avoid chemicals that were bad for my family. But, I also didn't want to get ripped off. I also wanted to know what is reasonable to expect in these sorts of transactions.
Here are a few terms that you may hear and rough guidelines for what to expect. These are only to give you an idea. Expect some variation.
I frequently have people ask what we feed our animals and they ask if the animals are given antibiotics. I am sometimes asked why antibiotics matter by bolder people who are willing to show a little lack of knowledge in order to learn more ... or possibly to test me to see if I know why it matters. From discussions with people asking about food given, it is apparent that many do no understand the role antibiotics and "medicated" feed play in the production of animal-based food. They have heard they are "bad" but don't really know why.
I do not use medicated feeds on my farm, but I do give sick animals antibiotics when they need them. Let me share a little about my understanding of antibiotics. Forgive me if it gets a bit medical-ish (as I am a RN), but it is a medical issue at least in part. I've read quite a few peer-reviewed published professional articles in medical journal (US and international), but I am not taking the time to cite them here. If this topic interests you, please research it more.
Floppy Kid Syndrome (FKS)
It seems that each year we get to gain experience with a new problem without livestock. It's a learning experience that makes us better prepared to prevent or treat it in the future. This year while I was gone at work, my children found a goat kid that was wobbly and unsteady to the point of not being able to walk well. He had very uncoordinated movements. It wasn't something I have seen before.
My husband searched and found treatment. My children searched the herd for other sick kids and found two more. They were all brought in and treated
Season of the Babies!
I LOVE and HATE baby season, and it's in full swing here on our farm. Here is one little piece of evidence for my feelings, our gorgeous little black lamb we named Dandelion Dahliasdottir, born one week ago. She's small and spunky, looks just like her mom except more compact, and her mom is weirded out by letting her nurse. So, we isolated them together with plenty of shelter, food, and water. Her mom Dahlia still wasn't feeling it and Dandelion has become a bottle baby.
Isn't she cute? She's super sweet and loves all the attention we give her. Without careful watching, we would have lost her.
Meet Our Mascots: Duncan & Clyde
Our two Clydesdale colts joined our farm in October 2016 when Duncan was just weaned at five months and Clyde a little older at almost seven months. They came from a responsible breeder in Canada and were almost as tall as our mature saddle horses (14-15 hh), though they had funny proportions: long legs, relatively short necks, and ribs that met their hips. They were (and still are) SWEET SWEET SWEET! Even though they are easy to tell apart, they are a well matched pair because of their body types and sizes. They’ll both mature at about 17 hh (around six feet tall where their mane transitions to their back). Their feet may reasonably be expected to reach twelve inches wide.
Wife to Brandon, mother to Tess and Liam, farmer, entrepreneur, cook & baker, nurse, and accountant who loves to try new things, travel, and work toward greater self-reliance.