So the sheep broke into the chicken food last night. This has happened to me twice before, so I should know better. The first time was slightly more than one month after I first got sheep. Ebony and Sadie managed to bust into a Rubbermaid tub with locking handles full of grain. I had this tub in with the goats without any difficulty, but the Shetland sheep managed to knock the tub on its side and jump up and down on it until the lid came off. They did get bloat from this, but the vet prescribed medications. I was scheduled to leave on a non-refundable trip so my farm sitter at the time kindly agreed to administer their mediations and watch them closely. They survived and are still alive today.
The next episode was in 2003. Then I had decided to put the bags of grain in the hay barn. I figured this was OK since they hadn’t been able to break into the hay barn when there was hay in it so it must be secure. Well, they busted in and gorged themselves. At this time I had quite a few sheep and was not sure who was going to bloat. So I chose not to treat them all at that time. Unfortunately they did not begin to show symptoms until the next day. When I came home to check on them during my lunch-break from work, three of them had obviously bloat. I moved them into a pen and thought about surgically opening their rumen but since I had to get back to work I didn’t. When I returned home from work they were dead, a very painful death I might add. I have never forgiven myself for not treating them and for prioritizing work over their lives. And naturally they were my favorite sheep: Babette, Hershey and Collette.
So this morning I found the door to the chicken pen open (I must not have latched it well yesterday) and the garbage can with the feed in it trampled on its side with about 50# of grain missing. I found Lou looking droopy next to the gate, and Moni grinding her teeth in the corner. I looked at the rest of the flock and noticed Bobbitt (Babette’s last lamb) grinding his teeth. So I grabbed them up, put them in a pen, and called the vet. He was too busy to come out, but I could come in and pick up some Therabloat and Magnalax, which is what I did. I administered these to the three sick sheep and then closely watch the rest of the flock. Tanya was no interested in eating grass nor hay so she got caught. Spike seemed a little droopy so he got caught. Heidi seemed to be laying around and had droopy ears so she got caught. Now it is a hot day so they may not be bloating, but I am not taking any chances. So these three also are treated. None of the rest of the sheep nor any of the goats are showing any signs, but I am watching. If any of them so much as droops one ear they are getting drenched too. Now I feel like I am on a death watch. Moni is looking the worst. I am really hoping I do not have to do a rumenotomy today.