Watch for milk fever in sheep during grain feeding
At this time of year an outbreak of milk fever or hypocalcaemia could be expected and may only become apparent by the confronting sight of dead and dying sheep, especially after feeding grain for a prolonged period.
Hypocalcaemia, or milk fever, is a deficiency of calcium in the blood.
It usually occurs in mature, fat ewes during the last six weeks of pregnancy or the first 10 days after lambing, although other classes of sheep may also be affected.
Milk fever often follows a stressful event, such as shearing, crutching, transportation, driving, yarding, fasting or inclement weather.
Milk fever usually occurs on either rapidly growing pasture, lush pasture, green cereal crops, when feeding grain, or on pasture that has oxalate containing plants such as sorrel and soursob.
A sheep affected by milk fever will initially stagger and have muscle tremors, after which it will become weak, slip into a coma and die quite rapidly within four to six hours.
During a post-mortem, there is little evidence to be seen in a sheep that has died from milk fever.
Cases of milk fever are often confused with, or misdiagnosed, with pregnancy toxaemia or twin lamb disease.
Milk fever characteristics include: a rapid onset; affected sheep remain alert; death occurs quickly; a large number of cases may occur at the one time; cases occur on lush feed rather than lack of feed; and, a good response to the appropriate treatment.
Sheep affected with milk fever should be treated as a matter of urgency with calcium/magnesium solution (often known as 4in-1) given under the skin. Calcium/magnesium solution is readily available from a veterinary practice or rural merchandiser.
Cases may be prevented by adding a calcium supplement if feeding grain, or by giving dry roughage to sheep on lush feed.
Market report for 26th and 27th September Wednesday Fat Sale head 95. Thursday Bull and Cow Sale, 4 bulls, 57 cows.
With a public holiday on Friday limited numbers were sold. There was only a small number of vealers which sold to strong demand to top at 338.6 cents per kg. There was some good heifers which sold to 307.6. There was a few steers which sold to 240 cents. 18 heifers made to 307.6. 22 steers made to 240. 54 veal made to 338.6, with the yard average 223.5. Thursday’s sale had less cows offered. Some better conditioned dairy cows sold okay. The decrease in numbers was again the Grand Final holiday. Top cow made 205.6. The top bull made 200 cents.
Vealers 1 CharX LBT Glover, Nyora 385 2 Ang LBT Glover, Nyora 378 1 Lim D.L Rogosin, Seaview 415 1 Lim MW Reynolds, Hazelwood 315 1 B/B BJ&WT Williams, L/touche 450 Steers 1 R/B 1 B/B 1 Bri Heifers 1 Lim F Bragagnolo, Trafalgar Sth 1 Lim F Bragagnolo, Trafalgar Sth 1 Ang M Calabrese, Traralgon 1 Ang A&KJ McFarlane, Modella Export Cows & Heifers
2 Char W&H Klingler, Strzelecki Dariy Cows 4 Frn SJ Allen, Drouin Sth 553 1 Frn Louden Farms, Modella 675 1 Frn Stanvale Farms, Neerim Nth 650 1 Frn Upston Farms, Drouin 600 1 Frn R&M Pandolfo, Lardner 685 1 Frn S&L Finger, Yannathan 575 Bulls 1 Frn 1 S/H M Calabrese, Traralgon 505 BJ&WT Williams, L/touche 465 Wolswinkle, Tyers 690 SJ Allen, Drouin Sth A&KJ McFarlane, Modella
425 465 485 450
338.6 1303 336.6 1270 325.2 1349 307.2 967 299.2 1346
240.0 1212 240.0 1116 217.2 1498
307.6 1307 307.6 1430 254.2 1232 249.2 1121
196.6 1087 188.2 1270 174.2 1132 172.7 1035 168.2 1152 166.2 955
785 200.0 1570 660 195.2 1288 1. Scotts, 2. SEJ, 3.
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