Speaking earlier in the Editor’s chat, of peacefully chewing the cud, I have had a ‘cud’ mystery. I knew it was to do with having a problem with the molars, you see these wads of cud laying around where the sheep in question lays down to chew the cud
Sometimes I find there are maybe 15 per day, or sometimes only about 5, I have never seen which sheep is doing it, I have sat down and watched but never found out who was doing it, but one of my caramels was a bit off for a couple of days laying away from the others but on close examination I saw him chewing his cud and swallowing it quite normally, I was convinced it was him, though if the feed was about, he was up like lightening! This went on and I counted the cuds spit out each day.
It wasn’t until I separated my old ewe and her ram from the others as some of the wethers were butting her in the sides for whatever reason and I thought as she was pregnant I could not let this happen to her. So the wethers went off to another paddock and she was safe and happy with her mate, then I noticed there were no cuds in the wethers’ paddock, so the cud spitter was the old ewe. (See picture below if you haven’t seen a wad of cud). I had not bred this ewe last year, I thought she was too old, but called my local shepherd in to give me his opinion and he said she was in great condition, so I let my young ram who was only 6 months old in with her, she is now very pregnant. The point being that I can definitely say this important young ram is fertile.
So obviously her molars are going and if I see she is in any way failing, then it’s time to say goodbye to her, but at the moment she is happy and eating well. So the mysteries of the many cuds and the few cuds days, seem to tie in with when I move the hurdle to the long grass, I guess if the grass is soft she can get it down, if the grass is more eaten off then she has trouble, anyway she looks fine and eats well, funnily enough she certainly can eat the sheep nuts with no difficulty at all.
In the end I did call the vet in to have a look at her teeth, I had a mask on, the vet said she found wearing a mask a hindrance in her job, anyway Amelie was not going to open her mouth and the vet said she wouldn’t sedate her in the last stages of pregnancy and would come and sort it out after Amelie had lambed and was well mothered up with the lamb and suggested I upped her sheep nuts and that has amounted to a huge reduction in her cud spitting. in fact I’m only seeing one or two now.
Now the ram has been removed to be with the wethers and the kindest wether is now in with her for company so she now has a peaceful life, as the ram was gentle with her but did shove her about a bit when food was offered it the hurdles were not moved quick enough. So all quiet and peaceful.
PS. she was pregnant and has since then produced a robust lively ewe lamb, born in thr last hours of May, so guess what her name is…..yes New Forest May.
Author: Marie Clarke