Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Battle Continues

It rained again and was overcast most all day and just like clockwork the Barberpole worms struck again. Three more ewes showed up with the telltale Bottlejaw look, which is that ugly bag under their chin like in the picture above.

I had the entire flock in the West pasture this time with my feeble attempt at rotating em out of the other one and as usual that appears to have done nothing. Two of the ewes have already been dosed with the full battery of wormers so I had to go back to the Panacure dose. I would like to dry lot them but with the recent rains even the normally grass-less barn lot now has a good amount of growth coming up.

The only thing I can say is we are not alone in this battle though. I talked to a couple other sheep breeders in the area and one or two of them are having worse issues with these worms than we are this year. We have only lost one ewe but I am worried about the two that are showing renewed issues since these worms are known to build up an immunity from just one dose.

I am basically out of ammo at this point unless I can get my local round bale supplier to bring me a bale in and just try and house the flock in the barn lot until this wet, humid weather goes away. If I up the grain ration it may keep the worm eggs from spreading and the shorter grass in the barn lot will dry off quicker.

I am also once again trying to chase down the copper treatment but every outlet around here claim they know nothing about it and the vets refuse to even look into it because if anyone mentions copper and sheep in the same sentence they freak out.

One thing I have noticed is that the only sheep that seem to get these worms are the nursing ewes. I am pretty sure it has to be a mineral deficiency that is making them so exposed which makes me think the copper treatment may work. I also went back and looked at my records and noticed that we started having issues after we stopped feeding treats two years ago because they contained trace amounts of copper.  I am beginning to wonder if those treats had the good copper in them and not the bad.

At any rate another week or so and we should be passed this period once again. It seems to be only the heavy rains, warm temps and high humidity that make these worms an issue.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!


  1. That really sucks. I am familiar that NZ does Treat with Copper for Barber Pole in sheep, is that not recommended in the U.S.?

  2. keeping everything crossed for you and your ewes

  3. Same as Dawn, and hoping you find a solution soon.

  4. i'm with Vera and Dawn....i know nothing about sheep but anonymous above might be on to something. other than's quarter to four in the you know where your sheep are? jam has to be up at 5 to go to work on-site today...i won't sleep until i know he's off to work...with his lunch, water and coffee...and a bit of chia fresca to start his day. i am so tired i could cry. i know a bucketload of homesteaders, including yourself, who have it so much worse than us. but holy crap - we're a little tired. and when jam's at work for he day - the garden and greenhouse are mine to tend to. i know - first world problems. but my hands are so sore, swollen and bug bitten that i can barely type. just really tired. i know that you understand.

    sending much love, as always. your friend,

  5. I know nothing about sheep, but from this, it looks like feeding uncontaminated hay in the barn is the way to prevent reinfection after trearment. Bummer.

    1. › goat_barber_pole

  6. Here is a document from Virginia Tech that talks about barberpole and what treatment they recommend. I saw some that were under study that you might look into. Let me know if you need me to look for anything around here and I can send it to you.

  7. Sending some good luck vibes your way- it's all I've got. Dang the weather!

  8. Typed a long comment and I think it didn't published. Anyway we are long time sheep raisers and use the lick and info from Pat Coleby's Natural Sheep Care book for our flock as well as the de-worming protocol from Skyline Farms with their garlic de-wormer. WE purchase Thorvin Kelp from and the other lick minerals from We raise Katahdin/Dorper sheep on irrigated pasture and have a healthy flock. Hopefully her book about the need for copper in sheep will be helpful, it must however be balanced with the other correct minerals so as not to overdose them with copper which can be fatal. Hopefully you will get a break in the weather and dry out a bit and be able to bring your flock back to good health.
    Janae at

  9. Dose them with Zimecterin Gold Paste horse wormer. Hold them for 24 hours to poop out worms. Move to clean ground. Repeat in 10 days. Move them every 3 weeks to new ground. Good luck :-)


Leave a comment. We like comments. Sometimes we have even been known to feed Trolls.