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Rye grass staggers 
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:26 pm
Posts: 545
Location: Primrose Valley, NSW
Post Rye grass staggers
Has anyone had this? A while ago, we brought our sheep up to a new paddock and some were having trouble walking (on knees or wobbly) and there was a bit of head shaking going on. We figured it was rye grass staggers, took them pasture and called the LHPA Vet who said we were doing the right thing. All resolved except one, we took her to our Vet who confirmed staggers and said she wouldn't recover, based on her symptoms so we PTS.

Sheep moved to another paddock some time later and have been all good. Found another two yesterday, one we killed, she had a near term lamb :(

Second one is more active and heavily pregnant, she's able to scramble around if we sit her up, so she's locked up and we're nursing her in the hope she comes good. She's eating and drinking, just not doing well in the standing up department..

Have mineral blocks and a big bale of hay in the paddock, the others seem good. Vet said some are more affected by it?

Hope the big girl recovers, I would really hate to lose her :(?

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Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:20 pm
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Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 3:44 pm
Posts: 3803
Location: Gundaroo NSW/ACT
Post Re: Rye grass staggers
Oh thats horrible....I've never heard of it before it sounds horrible!!
I hope your girl recovers :(

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Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:00 pm
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:26 pm
Posts: 545
Location: Primrose Valley, NSW
Post Re: Rye grass staggers
We've got her in a pretty upright position and she can still move her head and her legs are curled under her. The ones that were pts had progressed to stiff legs, head back and regular 'stiffening', which our vet said was too affected to get better. We saw another one the other day who was walking on her front knees but today she's back on all fours, so hope that's the end of it!

Last time, some of them were ok until stressed and then went down on their knees, and their heads were shaking - all recovered, so fingers crossed.

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The farm is growing... alpacas, llamas, sheep, goats, donkeys, geese, ducks, guinea fowl and chooks


Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:08 pm
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Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:14 pm
Posts: 546
Location: Yass River New South Wales Australia
Post Re: Rye grass staggers
how is she progressing? its an awful thing- we are all hoping for a bit of grass growth, but that is not helpful!

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Dexter & traditional purebred Jersey cattle; Dorper sheep; Berkshire Piggies; heritage rare breed chooks, duckies & guinea fowl Mad little pomeranians & Maremma dogs- & still learning about it all.


Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:47 pm
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:26 pm
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Location: Primrose Valley, NSW
Post Re: Rye grass staggers
She's able to sit up quite comfortably, unlike the two we pts. She's getting more active each time I visit, so hoping that's good news.

Have been keeping an eye on the others, they still look fine.

We didn't have this trouble last year, but then we had paddocks full of waist high, completely cured grass with some green growing through it, so I guess that reduced their intake. This year, all that is cleared and we have green, green, green (again nearly waist high in the back paddock!)

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The farm is growing... alpacas, llamas, sheep, goats, donkeys, geese, ducks, guinea fowl and chooks


Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:35 pm
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:26 pm
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Location: Primrose Valley, NSW
Post Re: Rye grass staggers
Reporting back - the ewe wasn't recovering and we decided we couldn't keep her going. So we did the deed, went in and found the lamb, which looked fully formed, although mum wasn't ready to give birth. After swinging him upside down and rubbing, and some mouth to mouth from my husband, he coughed up some gunk and went maaaa!

He got Wombaroo colostrum and has moved onto milk, is feeding well and starting to bounce. I still don't think he's technically due to be born yet!

Mum and dad were here and have taken him home to raise, fingers crossed he'll make it and then return - going into the no-eating category.

He's named Caesar :)

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Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:47 am
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Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:39 am
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Location: SE Melbourne
Post Re: Rye grass staggers
Awesome job on the lamb! Sorry you couldn't save the ewe though.

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Mon Dec 16, 2013 3:22 pm
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:26 pm
Posts: 545
Location: Primrose Valley, NSW
Post Re: Rye grass staggers
Well, I got home and the other pregnant ewe with the same problem has had a little ewe lamb. She has no milk so we'll be raising this one too. She's big and noisy! :)

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The farm is growing... alpacas, llamas, sheep, goats, donkeys, geese, ducks, guinea fowl and chooks


Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:34 pm
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