One lamb was very ill and nearly died but was able to be nursed back to health and grew up to be an impressive butcher lamb like his brother. Beyla had horrible feet and had multiple abcesses on her nose last spring. I planned to cull her last fall but then gave her a reprieve, remembering what a great mother she was. It took multiple sessions but her hoofs improved greatly. She still had some cracking in the hooves and limped occasionally though. Her limping became worse over the past month, would improve with treatment with zinc sulfate, then worsen again. Last week her back left hoof was very sore looking, smelled bad, and I feared she was getting hoof rot. It's been really wet first with rain and warm temps then the 2+ feet of snow. All the sheep were moved into the barn, blocking all access to the outside pen, and Beyla was quarantined. I've been treating her hoof with zinc sulfate, a dilute bleach solution, a coating of LA200 (oxytetracycline) and packing it with iodine/sugar soaked gauze. The hoof looks so much better and she is only limping a little. I need her to be able to raise her lamb(s) to weaning then she is off to the butcher. Unfortunately, she is more of a liability than an asset at this point.
All of the research time I've spent on Beyla has reminded me of the works of Pat Coleby and her mineral supplementation. I have ordered the minerals and need to get some multiple compartment troughs for the barn and something to put the separate containers into in the pasture. Her theory goes something like this: a sheep (or any animal) knows instinctively what minerals they are lacking and will choose the appropriate ones given the choice. Pat recommends keeping six compartments with a single mineral in each. Copper sulfate, sulfur, seaweed meal, dolomite, salt, and ground limestone are a sheep mineral buffet. I was very interested in reading about sulfur's use in improving skin and fighting lice; maybe it will help Moose's mites and itchy skin. I am still debating the copper sulfate. The research on copper boluses is encouraging and our Coopworth yearlings, Hazel and Ruth, came from a farm that used the boluses. I haven't yet found any information on offering copper sulfate supplements when using copper boluses, so I don't think I will offer copper as a supplement if the sheep are getting copper wire boluses.