Sheep Care Tips from 1871

I bought a cover of an American Agriculturalist magazine from April, 1871, because it had Southdowns in Central Park on the cover.

On the back, it has a section “Hints about Work” and reminds the shepherd of the tasks that should be done in April:

“Tag any that need it. For mild cases of scours, nothing is better than milk-porridge, made with wheat flour — say a pink of milk and a tablespoon of flour for each sheep. For severer cases, give prepared chalk, or ten drops of laudanum, repeating the dose every four or five hours till the discharges are arrested. Give gruel and tonics to keep up the strength of the animal. Salt regularly, and mix a little sulphur with the salt — say three pints of salt and half a pint of sulphur, twice a week, for a hundred sheep. Ewes expected to lamb should be watched night and day. But be careful not to render assistance when it is not needed. Rub the lambs dry, and see that they get milk immediately; and after that, with ordinary care, there is little danger. A chilled lamb may be restored when apparently nearly dead, by putting it in a bath of warm water — say at blood-heat; or in the absence of this, place the lamb in a heap of hot fermenting manure. After the bath rub and dry, and be careful that it does not take cold.”

Laudanum is tincture of opium! So don’t try that one at home. Putting your lamb in a steaming pile of poo, however, is up to you.

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