One of the most crucial parts of having any animal is knowing what they are supposed to be like healthy and what the warning signs are that something is amiss. If you have sheep, it can be challenging to know whether or not they are healthy, as sheep have a high pain tolerance. It’s important to spend as much time as possible with your flock in order to tell whether or not you have healthy sheep. Here is a very basic overview of how to tell if you have healthy sheep and what you can do to keep them in good condition.
Normal Sheep Behavior
Part of being able to tell if you have healthy sheep is knowing what a healthy sheep looks like and what normal sheep behavior entails. Having a good grasp on how sheep usually behave will make telling when something is amiss so much easier. Here are some things you should know about what a healthy sheep looks like.
- Their head
Sheep normally hold their head up and upright, on the alert. A healthy sheep is one that will watch you. If your sheep isn’t healthy, they will likely dip their head and stick it in a corner.
- Their ears
How a sheep holds their ears depends on their breed. If your sheep normally has upright ears but they droop, this can be an indication that they’re sick. The same goes for if your sheep normally has droopy ears but their position changes.
- Their horns
You can’t typically use your sheep’s horns as a sign of whether or not they’re in good health, especially as there are sheep that are polled and ones that aren’t. If your sheep has horns, though, you’ll want to ensure that they aren’t growing into your sheep’s eyes.
- Their mouth
The same as humans, sheep can have jaw problems, such as over- and underbites. Your sheep should have a jaw that’s aligned, with no swelling, and a clean mouth. A healthy sheep is one that doesn’t have bad breath and doesn’t have missing teeth or a lot of bad teeth.
- Their noise
Healthy sheep bleat to each other, especially if they lose track of the rest of the herd, have lambs, or lambs have recently been weaned. If your sheep is silent, this can be a sign that they’re sick.
- Their breathing
It can be hard to tell if your sheep is breathing normally, especially as their fleece can obscure their chest movements. While you can’t diagnose health problems from breathing, healthy sheep don’t have regularly labored breathing or frequent coughing.
Problem Signs In Your Sheep
The above section lists a few problem signs that you can watch out for that are amiss from normal sheep behavior. In addition, there are several other indicators that you should watch out for that deviate from healthy sheep behavior and bodies.
- Their hooves
Your sheep’s hooves should be neatly trimmed. Problem signs in their hooves include abnormal hoof growth, splayed hooves, cracked hooves, and infection.
- Their form
If your sheep doesn’t have their weight evenly distributed on all four legs with straight legs, this can be a sign that they’re lame or have been poorly bred.
- Their skin
Fleece covers your sheep’s skin, but healthy sheep don’t have problems that result in wool loss the way that unhealthy sheep do. If your sheep’s wool is coming off, this can indicate a number of health problems, such as stress, illness, scrapie, parasites, and more.
How To Keep Your Sheep Healthy
Part of having healthy sheep is doing everything in your power to know what a healthy sheep looks like and what you need to do in order to keep them in good health. Generally, you will need to conduct health exams every 6-8 weeks, observe them daily, ensure they have their herd, ensure they have proper food, and always provide them with easy access to fresh and clean water.
Clean Water = Healthy Sheep
Bar Bar A provides automatic sheep waterers that will help keep your sheep healthy. A key component of having healthy sheep is ensuring that they’re properly hydrated. In order for them to stay hydrated, they’ll need easy access to fresh and clean water all year round. Sheep drink 1-4 gallons of water daily, depending on their size and their feed. If they’re drinking enough, this is an indicator that they’re healthy.
Bar Bar A’s automatic sheep waterers will ensure that your sheep have access to the water they need all year round. To learn more about our automatic waterers, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!