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Tips for Keeping Sheep Healthy

Have you recently started keeping sheep? Sheep are cute and fun, but they can also be quite profitable. However, just like any other animal, they need proper care to thrive. Here, a Chattanooga, TN vet discusses keeping sheep healthy.

Keep Logs

Keeping accurate records is very important. We recommend logging things like illnesses, breeding cycles, vaccinations, and weight changes very diligently. Keep individual records for each sheep.

Keep Predators Out

Sheep are often attacked by wild animals. Make sure that your fencing is secure, and difficult for coyotes, stray dogs, or other animals to breach. Consider running electrical wire for additional security.

Good Food

Because sheep are ruminants, they can usually get all the nutrition they need from grass and hay. This makes them very cost-efficient to keep! If your pasture is sufficient, it will basically feed your sheep in summer, though you’ll need to offer supplements. When grazing isn’t possible, sheep can eat quality hay, which may be combined with suitable grain. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Offer Suitable Shelter

Although sheep have thick coats, they aren’t impervious to extreme weather. If you don’t have a barn, you’ll need to provide a good three-sided shelter. As a rule of thumb, the shelter should be big enough to allow every sheep at least 4 square feet of room.

Create A Strong Herd

You can improve the overall quality of your flock by following a few simple rules. First, only buy healthy, quality sheep. (Tip: checking the hooves is a good way to gauge whether they were properly cared for.) Before purchasing an animal, inspect it thoroughly. It’s also important to cull the herd regularly, and eliminate weak or undesirable sheep from your farm.

Veterinary Care

Parasite control, exams, and vaccinations are all crucial to the health of your flock. Follow your vet’s recommended appointment schedule. In between appointments, watch for signs of illness, such as lack of appetite, unusual behavior, isolation, lethargy, and/or sunken eyes. Contact your vet immediately if you notice anything amiss.

Spoil The Lambs

Do everything possible to start your newborns off on the right hoof in life. Providing a clean, warm birthing stall is crucial. We also recommend shearing pregnant ewes before they give birth, and adjusting their menu as needed. Ask your vet for more information.

Please contact us, your Chattanooga, TN vet clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!

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