Thursday, July 29, 2010

Auction livestock mortality

When I buy livestock at auction there's always a risk that some of it will not make it; either at the auction, or at home, for a variety of reasons.  I bought some lambs at the auction and one of them died.  For husbandry reasons it's best to figure out why they died -- maybe it's something preventable. 
The lamb that died was about 40lbs, and was part of this group of lambs, the blue stripe group.  It's a very young animal, looked good, but was listless the night before, stopped eating and drinking, and I put it down the morning after.  Although sheep are pretty tough, when they stop eating and drinking it's just a matter of time.  A single shot and throat cut and it was done. 
This is a young animal, and in what looked to be pretty good health; no signs of illness and no breathing problems.  Next step is to skin it to see what it looks like.   what you're looking for when you skin an animal is any sign of trauma or bruising, or possibly some sort of wound.  Here Andrea skins the sheep. 
From the bruising on the back it looks like this sheep was crushed from the side; either prior to the auction, during, or possibly during transport.  You can see the bruising in two C shapes on the back, and a fairly extensive bruise to the left in this picture.   an examination of the internal organs showed some blood, and that's pretty much all I needed to know.  At some point this little guy got squished, and it did him in after a couple of days. 


Anonymous said...

I assume you will eat him?

Kelsi said...

So, when something like this happens, do you get your money back? Poor little sheep.

Bruce King said...

I've never thought to get a refund. Not sure if they'd offer it. The usual rules at an auction are buyer beware; the sale is absolute, and if you bid on it and it isn't what you thought, it's your problem.

That's different than buying direct from the farmer, where I might get a replacement animal or a partial refund from a reputable breeder, for instance.