So one day as I am out eyeballing my beloved herd, I notice their fur does not look quite right. As always my first guess is I have a worm issue. Usually that is the rough coat. So I start grabbing does and checking eye color. I even run a few fecals under the microscope. Nope we are good there. Hmm. So next I inspect the hair, it's dry, it's loosing color and a few does are loosing hair.
Okay, now my heart is sinking. I hate this, go to the barn find an issue, then its hit the books, scan the web, and finally consult the vet.
As I am am looking at pictures on the web, I notice pictures of tails that the middle hair has fallen out. This is called Fish Tail as it resembles a fish where the middle tail hair is missing.
Yep, I've got that. Under the caption is copper deficiency. As I look at more pictures, I come across an amazing website that has copper deficiency explained so well. A woman in California has dealt with this and compiled the info wonderfully.
Okay so as I read I realize I am in a very high sulfur area, which even if my guys were to receive copper, the sulfate in the water binds to it and decreases the absorption of it.
Next stop is the vet. I pop in and ask him if we are copper deficient in this area.
"Oh yes, so much so that we have to give it to the sheep here" Really!
He also said that we give so much it would be lethal in other parts of the US.
So his recommendation was to get them on a loose mineral, he says the cooper needs to come from two sources. A mineral as well as a plant source. The reasoning is that the plant source will stay in the gut longer. Also instead of copper bolus, he put them on a cooper injection, it's given to cattle, it's called Multimin 90. It contains more than copper, it has zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium. So for now that is the plan. I have seen improvement for the most part.
But still worry as that seems to be my lot in life.
I did have one doe that after kidding all her hair fell out. I believe it to be a hormonal reaction to the doeling she had.
I will keep this updated as I find out more