The domestic animals : from the latest and best authorities. Illustrated online

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course to in order to sear the part and prevent bleeding. This opera-
tion usually succeeds well, but it is not every operator on sheep that has
the clamps or the tiring-iron.

The preferable way of operating is, to tie a waxed cord as tightly as
possible round the scrotum above, and quite clear of the testicles. The
circulation will here also be completely stopped, and usually in two or
three days the scrotum and the testicles will drop off. Accidents have
occurred, but which are attributable to the operator; he has included
a portion of the testicle in the ligature, and thus laid the foundation for
very great and fatal inflammation ; or he has used too large a cord, and
which could not be drawn sufficiently tight; or the knot has slackened
and the ligature has pressed sufficiently to produce excessive inflamma-
tion and torture, but not completely to cut off the supply of blood.
Care being taken in the application of the cord to the exact part, and
the tightening of the ligature, the animal seems scarcely to suftVr any
pain ; indeed, the nerves are evidently deadened by the compression of
the cord, and no accident occurs.

Docking. — There is much variety of opinion among sheep- masters as
to the time when this operation should be performed. Some, like Mr.
Parkinson, think that it should be done within a very few days after
the birth ; the ewes on the first, second, or third day, and the male
lambs when they are castrated. The author of the "Complete Gra-
zier" would defer it until the lambs are three or four months old. This
must depend on the state of the weather, and the health of the animals.
No one should dock his lambs when the weather is very cold, because
the bushy tail's of the animals afford a great deal of warmth. On this
account, in particularly exposed situations, it is deferred until the warm
weather sets thorouglily in, and by some, and particularly with their
ewes, not practiced at all. The tail certainly aflfords both protection
and warmth to the udder, and likewise defense against the dreadful
annoyance of the flics in hot weather; but, on the other hand, it per-
mits the accumulation of a great deal of filth, and, if the lamb or the
sheep should labor under diarrhoea, and the shepherd should be some-
what negligent, the tail may cling to the haunches, and that so closely


as to form an almost insuperable obstruction to the passac^e of the
faeces. It likewise can scarcely be denied that the removal of the tail
very much improves the beauty of the animal, by the fullness and width
which it seems to impart to the haunches.

The operation is a very simple one. An assistant holds the lamb
with its back pressing against his belly, and thus presenting the haunches
to the operator, who, with a knife, or a strong pair of scissors or forceps,
cuts it otf at the second or third joint from the rump. A few ashes are
then sprinkled on the wound — common flour would do as well, in order
to form a coagulum over the part and stop the bleeding. It is seldom
that the bleeding will continue long; but, if the lamb should appear to
be growing weak in consequence of the loss of blood, a piece of twine
tied tightly round the tail, immediately above the dock, will at once
arrest the hemorrhage ; the twine, however, must be removed twelve
hours afterward, otherwise some sloughing will ensue, and care must
likewise be taken that the incision is made precisely in the joint, other-
wise the wound will not heal until the portion of bone between the dock
and the joint above has sloughed away.

Spaying. — A few weeks after castrating the spaying of the rejected
ewe-lambs will succeed, an operation which will materially contribute to
their increase of growth and disposition to fatten. It is singular that
this practice should be almost contined to Great Britain and to Italy, for
there can be no manner of doubt of the advantage of it. Daubcnton,
however, in his " Instructions to Shepherds," gives a useful account of
the manner in which it is best performed.

At the age of six weeks, the ovaries ai-e grown sufficiently large to
be easily felt, and that is the time usually selected for the spaying, be-
ing immediately after the first formal examination of the flock. The
lamb is laid on her right side, near the edge of a table, with her head
hanging down by the side of the table; an assistant stretches out the
left hind-leg of the animal, and holds it in that situation, with liis left
hand grasping the shank; and in default of a second assistant, he also
liolds the two fore-legs, and the other hind-leg with his right hand.
The lamb being thus disposed, the operator, tightening the skin of the
part, makes an incision of an inch and a half in length, midway be-
tween the top of the haunch and the navel, and penetrating through
the skin ; another incision divides the muscles of the belly and the per-
itoneum. A careful operator will, perhaps, make three incisions, the
first through the skin, the second tlirough the abdominal muscles, and
the third through the peritoneum. lie then introduces his forefinger
into the abdominal cavity, in search of the left ovary, which is immedi-
ately underneath the incision ; and, having found it, he draws it gently
out. The two broad ligaments, and the womb and the right ov;ir\',
protrude at the same time. The operator cuts off the two ovaries, and
returns the womb and its dependencies; he then closes the womb by
means of two or three stitches through the skin, carefully avoiding the
abdominal muscles below; and, last of all, he rubs a little oil on the
v>'ound, or he does nothing more, but releases his patient.

The lamb very probably will be unwilling, and perhaps will alto-
gether refuse to suck or to graze during the first day, but on the follow-


ing days he will feed as usual. In ten or twelve days the wound will
have perfectly healed, and the threads may be cut and taken away.
The only thing to be feared is inflammation of the peritoneum, which
was divided in the operation; but this rarely occurs, and, on the whole,
there is not so much danger in the spaying of the ewe-lamb, as in the
castration of the tup.

Sheep-Washing. — This is best done in vats constructed for the purpose,
and where large flocks are to be washed, the expense and care are well
repaid. These vats are to be so located as that the waCer can be con-
veniently let into them by spouts, and a small stream, dammed up, will
answer the purpose. The vat should be about* three and a half feet
deep, and of such size as to admit two spouts to flow into it at the upper
end, at which two men can wash, while two others can be so employed
at its lower end and over which the water flows. The vat should have
a gate to draw off" the water as often as fifty sheep are washed. A plat-
form should connect the top of the vat with the sheep-yards, of which
there should be two, one to contain the unwashed, and the other the
washed sheep ; lambs, on account of their liability to accident, should not
be driven with the flocks to the washing-pens. The operation of wash-
ing is facilitated, and rendered much easier by heavy rains immediately
preceding it, and which have thoroughly saturated the fleeces. Sheep
are more generally injured while washing than in any other way, and
hence, at this time the utmost care is needed in handling them.

Sheep-Slicariug. — This, in fair weather, may be done in from five to six
days after washing. The operation should always be carefully done,
and by those only who are experts in the art. This is equally dictated
by the true interest of the wool-grower — as by no others can the fleeces
be kept and put into proper merchantable shape — and by humanity, as
clumsy shearers clip and mutilate, and otherwise often shamefully abuse
the uncomplaining sheep.

Every thing being arranged, a shearer seizes a sheep, and sets it on its
rump, and keeps it in this position by resting the back against his own
legs. He removes all straws, thorns burs, etc., that may have adhered
to the wool. While thus held, the wool is removed from the head and
neck as far as the shoulders, and also from the belly, the scrotum, and
the edge of the thighs. The head of the animal is then bent down
sidewise, and the shearer, placing a leg on each side of the neck of the
sheep, pushes out the opposite ribs by pressing his knees gently against
the ribs that are nearest to him. He next shears the wool from the far
side with his left hand, from the belly to the middle of the back, and as
far down as the loins. The sheep is now turned, and the right hand is
employed to shear the wool from the near side. The sheep is then laid
flat on its side, and kept down by the shearer with his face toward the
rump of the sheep, resting his right knee on the ground in front of the
neck, and his right toe being brought to the ground a little behind and
below the poll ; the head and neck of the sheep are thus confined by his
right leg, while he uses his right hand to shear the wool from the hind
quarter. In this way the clips of the shears will appear in concentric
rings round the body of the sheep. The dirty portions of wool about
the tail are then removed by the shears and kept by themselves ; the


outside of the fleece is folded inward, beginning at the sides, and narrow-
ing the whole fleece into a strip about two feet wide. This strip is
then rolled finnly up from the tail end toward the neck.

WINTER MA\AGE}1ENT.— Sheds, to shield sheep from cold rains, sleety
storms, and from piercing winds, are at once dictated by humanity and
true economy ; but every arrangement for thus housing sheep should
provide for free ventilation, as the health of none other of our domestic
animals is so entirely dependent on pure air as that of the sheep.

Winter Food. — ILiy is the staple winter food of sheep in the United
States. Morrell, in The American Shepherd^ states the daily quantity,
in cold weather, which a sheep weighing one hundred pounds will con-
sume, at two and a half pounds ; and if every one hundred sheep should
have a daily supply of from six to eight quarts of corn, or its equivalent
in cut potatoes or other roots, the increased thrift of the flock, and
their larger return of better wool, would richly repay the extra cost and

When the foddering season arrives, the flock should be arranged into
as many apartments as circumstances will admit. A small one of the
oldest and poorest should have the preference as to accommodation and
attention, and to it should be added occasionally such as may from any
cause be declining; and such as have sufficiently recruited in this de-
partment may give place to them. This flock should be fed with grain
and roots, as their condition and circumstances may require, through
the winter. So with the lambs, a flock of the smallest and poorest should
be managed in the same way.

When assorting and arranging for the winter, the feet and toes of all
should be cut and trimmed to a proper shape ; and the ends of the horns
of all such as incline to branch out should be sawed oflf. The whole
should have free access to water and salt through the winter, and should
be fed with hay, in boxes, plentifully and regularly three times a day ;
under cover when cold or stormy, outside when fair, if more convenient;
and in rain-storms should be confined under cover. It is convenient to
let them have free access to straw, in boxes, at all times, and occasion-
ally a change of the different kinds of hay and corn fodder. The sheds
should at all times be well littered.

The proper time to put bucks with ewes is the first of December,
which is generally after they are arranged for winter, and that arrange-
ment should be made with reference to that object, allowing but one
buck to a flock; and no wether should be allowed in a flock with a
buck, as his presence creates suspicion, and disturbs the quiet so neces-
sary to the desired performance. The number of ewes to a buck will
vary according to his age, vigor, and keeping; a full-grown, vigorous
one, well fed, will serve one hundred ; the same, without extra feed,
will serve fifty; young ones from thirty to forty. The bucks should be
painted on the breast to make apparent their progress. Four weeks is
sufficient time for them to remain with the ewes; after that, there is
danger of the ewes being injured by their ungallant and knock-down

cines ought to be in the possession of the farmer for instant use incases


of cmerc^cricy; but the administration of the more potent drugs ought
to be intrusted to the veterinary surgeon, hy whom alone all important
operations ouglit to be performed. Kead's enema and stomach-pump
adapted to siieep, should be in every breeder's hands, and kept con-
stantly ready for use. In the treatment of many of the diseases of
sheep^ the advantages of purgative or of sedative injections are too much
overlooked. Aperient injections may consist of a liandful of common
salt, or an ounce or two ounces of Epsom salts, with a wineglassful of
linseed oil, mixed in a pint of water or thin gruel. Sedative injections,
in cases of diarrhoea and dysentery, may consist of a pint of gruel or
starch, with three or four grains of powdered opium, or fifty drops of

Ap"ri(!llts. — In administering medicines to the sheep, the fluid should
be allowed to trickle slowly and gently down the gullet or oesophagus,
as we have already urged in the case of the ox, and for the same rea-
sons — the structure of the stomach being in both animals on the same
plan. To give medicine in a hurried manner, so as to force the animal
to gulp it, is to defeat the very object intended; it will force the pillars
of the oesophagean canal, enter the insensible paunch, and there con-
tinue inert. It may here be as well to observe, that the doses of medi-
cine for sheep, in general are about one-sixth in cjuantity of what are
usually given to cattle. Young lambs require only a third, or half the
quantity of medicine constituting a dose for an adult sheep.

The following medicines are the most valuable aperients:

Common Sjilf (Chloride of Sodium or Muriate of Soda). — Salt is a tonic

in moderate doses, and of great benefit in the rot. It should always
be accessible to the flock. In doses of one or two ounces, dissolved in
four or six ounces of gruid, it forms an excellent aperient.

Epsom Salts (SulphalC of Magnesia). — An excellent purgative, and that
which is most commonly employed. Its dose ranges from half an ounce
to two or three ounces. The repetition of small doses at intervals of six
hours wiil keep up the action of the first full dose when desirable; or
sulj)hur may be employed for this purpose.

Sulphur. — Sulpliur, besides its value in cutaneous affections, is very
useful as an aperient, especially for keeping up the action of the bowels
after the operation of salts. Dose, from one to two ounces. Sulphur is
the base of every ointment hv the cure of mange.

Aloes. — This drug is not only very uncertain in its operation in sheep,
but has often proved fatal, by inducing direct inflammation. It is in-
valuable as a horse medicine, but should never be administered to the

Linseed Oil. — Linseed oil is occasionally used as a purgative; it is
given in doses of two or three ounces.

exert a peculiar influence on certain organs, altering their diseased action,
or stimulating their respective secretions. Some act more especially on
the liver, others on the glandular system, and some on the skin; while
one exerts a peculiar action on the muscular fibers of the uterus. A
knowledge of the effects of these medicines has been gained by experi-
ence ; but wc know nothing of their modus operonuli.


Calomel (Siihmiiriate or Protocliloride of Mercury).— Calomel is seldom

used ill the treatment of the diseases of the slieep. In cases of rot, two
or three grains of calomel, mixed with a grain and a half of opium, have
been found beneficial ; this dose may be repeated every day, or every
other day, for several times, its effects being watched.

Sllipliate of Mercury or Ullliops Mineral. — As an alterative medicine,
useful in cutaneous disorders, ^thiops mineral has long enjoyed great
reputation; it is usually combined with nitre and sulphur in the follow-
ing proportions for a daily dose : -^thiops mineral, one scruple ; nitre,
two scruples ; sulj)hur, four scruples.

Iodine. — Iodine is useful both as an external application, and also as a
medicine taken internally, in cases of glandular atiections and indurated
swellings of the ndder. Its mopt convenient form is the iodide of po-
tassium. An excellent ointment is composed of one part of the iodide
and seven of lard.

Iodide of potassium is strongly recommended in consumption, when
tubercles have formed on the lungs. The dose is two grains, gradually
increased to four or six, given morning and evening, in a little gruel.

Ergot of Rye. — In cases of lingering parturition, when the powers of
the uterus are exhausted, ei'got of rye is found very useful. It exerts a
peculiar action on that organ, and arouses its dormant energy. It
should be employed with caution. The dose is a scruple or half a
drachm, repeated at intervals of half an hour, if necessary. An infusion
of ergot of rye is used by lambers and shepherds, conjoined with a
cordial composed of equal parts of brandy and spirits of nitre {sp. cether

SEDITIVE AND FEBRIFUGE MEDICINES.— These are medicines calcu-
lated to allay fever and moderate the action of the arterial system.
Among these, nitre or nitrate of potass, tartar emetic, or tartrate of an-
timony, and the powder of digitalis, i.e.^ of the dried leaves of the fox-
glove, are chiefly in requisition. Opium, or tincture of opium (laudanum),
is in a certain sense a sedative ; indeed, in some diseases, its use in
allaying irritation cannot be overrated.

Nitrate of Potass. — Nitre is used as a febrifuge with good effect, but
generally in combination with other medicines. Its dose is from half a
drachm to a drachm.

Tartrate of Antimony. — The effect of this medicine, in lowering t''e
action of the heart and arterial system, is very decided. Hence in many
inflammatory diseases it is of great importance. It is given to the sheep
in doses of five or six grains.

Digitalis. — The powdered leaves of the dried foxglove have been long
esteemed for their decided effects upon the action of the heart. They
not only reduce the force of the pulse, but often render it intermittent.
Digitalis, in combination with nitre and tartar-emetic or tartrate of anti-
mony, forms an efficient fever medicine in cases of high inflammation,
as pleurisy and similar diseases.

The following formula for sheep has been used with success : digitalis
powder, five grains; tartrate of antimony, five grains; nitrate of potass,
half a drachm ; water, three or four ounces. Mix. To be given twice
a day.


ANTISPASIIODICS.— The great antispasmodic, the great allajer of pain,
and of irritation of the alimentary canal, whether in cases of diarrhoea
or dysentery, is opium.

Opium. — The dose of this all-potent medicine (when judiciously ad-
ministered) is two or three grains. Combined with oil, it has been given
in dysentery w^th the best effects. Mr. D. Sayer found in certain cases
of dysentery the following prescription of great service: — linseed oil,
two ounces ; powdered opium, two grains. Mix in an infusion of linseed.

On the following day, -le gave twice in the twenty-four hours this
mixture: — powdered opium, two grains ; powdered ginger, and powdered
gentian, of each, half a drachm. Mix in linseed tea.

Afterward this draught was repeated once a day, with the addition
of half an ounce of linseed oil. This was continued for four days, when
the sheep recovered. In cordial and astringent medicines, opium is an
essential ingredient, and it may also be combined, w^ith aperients.

Laudanum, or Tincture of Opium. — Tincture of opium possesses the

same properties as the powder of opium, but is perhaps quicker in its
effects. The dose for sheep is froTn twenty to sixty drops.

TONICS. — It is often necessary in cases of debility, when acute diseases
have been subdued, to restore or invigorate the system by tonics. Of
these, gentian is the best, and, indeed, will supersede every other.

Gentian. — Powdered gentian root may be given as a tonic in doses of
from half a drachm to two drachms, in combination with a scruple or
half a drachm of powdered ginger in gruel or water, or in a little ale.

Cordials. — Cordials, or stimulating drenches, are not so often given to
sheep as to horned cattle. The best of these cordials are ginger, cara-
way-seeds, essence of peppermint, and carbonate of ammonia.

Ginger. — The dose of this root in powder is from a scruple to a drachm.
It is generally mixed with aperient medicines, and aids their operation.

Caraway-seeds. — Bruised caraway-seeds are useful as a cordial, though
inferior to ginger. Dose, half a drachm or a drachm.

Oil or Essence of Peppermint. — Peppermint water — that is, water in
which the oil of peppermint is diffused — is a good vehicle for tonic and
astringent medicines. It is never given alone.

Carbonate (Subcarbonate) of Ammonia.— In cases of repletion of the

stomach by a mass of undigested curd (to which lambs are subject), car-
bonate of ammonia may prove very useful, both from its stimulating
and its antacid properties. A drench, composed of a scruple of carbo-
nate of ammonia, two drachms of carbonate (sesqui-carbonate) of soda,
half an ounce of Epsom salts, and a scruple of ginger, in warm water,
may be given every six hours. A solution of potash in lime-water is
recommended in these cases. We here give the directions for making
and administering this solution : — take a lump of quick-lime, of the size
of an egg, and pour on it, in a convenient vessel, as much water as will
slake it. This being done, then pour upon it one pint of boiling water;
stir the whole up, and cover close. While this is allowed to stand for
some time, take an eight-ounce bottle, and put into it two ounces of
subcarbonate of potass, and fill up the bottle with the lime-water already
made : pouring it off rather turbid than in a state of purity. Cork this
up, and label it, "Solution of potass in lime-water." Of this "solution,"


a tcaspoonful or two should be added to some warm water, together
with half an ounce of salts and a scruple of ginger, and given every six
hours, till good etfects result. We can hardly call this a cordial medi-
cine. Its effects, setting aside the Epsom salts, are chemical, and the
same observation applies to chloride of lime given internally in cases of
hoove. Its dose in the shop is about half a drachm. As a disinfectant
and cleanser of foul ulcers, a solution of chloride of lime, applied exter-
nally, and used freely as a wash, is invaluable.

chloride of Lime. — For its properties, see above. A solution of chlo-
ride of lime, for washing infected sheep-cotes, ulcers, etc., may be made
with half an ounce of powder dissolved in a gallon of water. Taken
inter*^ ly in hoove, it acts chemically as a cordial by secondary effects.

CarbuliatC (sesquiearbonate) of Soda.— Carbonate of soda is an antacid,
and useful as a component in cordial draughts, where the correction of
acidity in the stomach is desirable. Dose, about a drachm.

ASTRh\GE.\TS. — Astringents are medicines which act upon the raucous
membrane of the alimentary canal, and check diarrhoea. They consist
of lime, or chalk, opium, catechu, etc., and are always combined with
cordials. Of lime, or rather chalk, little need be said ; it is given in
doses of either half a drachm or a drachm. Of opium, we have already

Catechu. — This is an extract from a tree of the acacia tribe, and is
very valuable. Dose, a scruple.

The following is a useful astringent cordial for sheep and calves : —
prepared chalk, one ounce ; powdered catechu, half an ounce ; powdered
ginger, two drachms; powdered opium, half a drachm; mucilage or gum-
water, thick, two ounces ; peppermint-water, six ounces. Mix. Dose :
two tablespoonfuls twice a day.

AlUQl. — Alum is not often used in the treatment of sheep. Its dose
is ten or twenty grains, according to age. The "sheep's cordial" ren-

Online LibraryUnknownThe domestic animals : from the latest and best authorities. Illustrated → online text (page 23 of 37)