This is an overhead view of my seven-year- old ewe, Blackberry, two days ago. I am going crazy.
Every morning I think, She can’t go another day. But she does. When I stand and stare at her I can often see the lambs moving under her skin. Blackberry’s oldest daughter, Lily, is only slightly less distended.
Yesterday we had 40 mph winds, whipping snow, sleet, and rain. It was such a mess that I was sure I would have a rash of lambs to cope with on top of the storm. Nope.
Lucy and I leave town in seven days. I pray these lambs get a move on.
Blackberry has some sort of scurfy skin condition across half her back. It looks almost like cradle cap. I don’t know if it’s a result of having had lice — she was my worst case — or if it’s a rain-rot infection (caused by the bacterium Dermatophilus congolensis, spread by insect parasites such as lice), fleece rot (Pseudomonas aeruginosa, caused by moist conditions), or what. Two of my other ewes have much smaller patches of the same thing. They, too, had lice.
I asked Roger the shearer about the scurf and he was unconcerned. I do think it will clear up as soon as we have sunshine again. However the treatment for both rain rot and fleece rot is the same thing — disinfecting the skin with a 4:1 dilute mix of water and the bactericide chlorhexidine. Chlorhexidine is Nolvasan, the veterinary disinfectant. (Anyone who has ever walked into a vet’s office can recognize the scent.) I have mixed up a jam jar of this solution and will take it to the barn with me this morning.
It’s always something.