My sheep are very robust and healthy.  They are not deficient in copper or
any other mineral.  I eat my sheep and all livers are perfect.  My lambs are
born in April and May and raised on pasture.  We do not feed grain to our
sheep.  Parasites thrive with moisture and heat.  Lambs do not acquire
natural immunity to parasites until they are four months old.  So to raise
lambs during the months May - September requires timely treatment for
parasites.  There has been much research involved with copper that has
included veterinarians.  Copper sulfate was used to de-worm sheep before the
modern de-wormers came along.  The biggest advances today are scales and
accurate dosages compared to the "old timers" usage of copper sulfate.  We
have raised over 2000 lambs now with success.

There are risks with copper sulfate with sheep.  It is important to know if
your environment is copper "rich" or "poor".  For example: Purina has a
molasses protein tub marketed towards both cattle and sheep that contains
copper.  Many feeds as mentioned have copper added to them.  Forage also has
copper levels.  You must know all the sources your sheep are getting copper
from.  The message I am making is sheep need less copper than other
livestock but it is still essential to their health.  A sheep does not need
to be deficient in copper to benefit from copper.  Because of the unknown
variances in environment the standard position is "sheep should avoid all
copper".  So get informed about your environment and the copper levels in
your sheep and make an informed decision.

The liver of a sick sheep will be depleted of copper.  The liver of a copper
poisoned sheep will have an abundance of copper.  A sheep that is not sick
or poisoned and is representative of the entire flock is the best candidate
to have a liver checked for copper levels.

For liability reasons I would expect veterinarians not to recommend copper
sulfate usage.  In this era of litigation they really have no option.  It is
also the reason I will close this post with the statement "use copper
sulfate at your own risk."

Mark Wintermute

-----Original Message-----
From: Blackbelly [] On
Behalf Of Elizabeth Radi
Sent: Sunday, August 23, 2015 6:11 PM
Subject: Re: [Blackbelly] Blackbelly Digest, Vol 11, Issue 44

I really would consult with your veterinarian if you would go the route of
One way to tell if your sheep are deficient, is if one dies, or when
butchering, have the liver checked.

Liz Radi
Nubian goats 
Nunn, Colorado

--- wrote:

From: "Mark Wintermute" <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: [Blackbelly] Blackbelly Digest, Vol 11, Issue 44
Date: Sun, 23 Aug 2015 14:51:21 -0500

I would agree that feeding any grain supplemented with copper is a bad idea.
I am also hesitant to feed fish meal which is a animal protein to sheep.
Although I do not know of any prion disease or such that would transfer from
aquatic to ruminant livestock.

Copper is essential though to livestock.  Environment is part of the
equation in how much copper is metabolized by sheep.  Also, the breed of
sheep determines the sensitivity level to copper.  IN MY OPERATION I feed a
cattle mineral block with copper along with a plain white salt block to my
Barbados Blackbelly sheep.  I also dose my sheep with a 10% copper sulfate
solution at 1cc per every 10 pounds of body weight along with either
Cydectin, Safeguard, Valbazin or Prohibit.  The addition of the copper
sulfate solution with the de-wormers makes them more effective.  And it is
unlikely that parasites can build a resistance to copper.  I have been doing
this for 15 years and have yet to lose a sheep to copper poisoning.

I also put a very small dose (less than a teaspoon) of copper sulfate
crystals into 30 gallon poly tubs of drinking water for the sheep.  This
keeps algae out of the water and stops mosquito larvae from hatching.  It
will not kill any larvae that is pre-existing in the water.  I top off the
tubs with water along with the rain until I start seeing algae or mosquito
larvae and then repeat the process.  Water has been precious here and I
cannot be dumping it out several times per week.

This is what I do.  It is up to you to test and evaluate what is effective
in your operation.

Mark Wintermute

-----Original Message-----
From: Blackbelly [] On
Behalf Of Jim Isbell
Sent: Sunday, August 23, 2015 12:01 PM
Subject: Re: [Blackbelly] Blackbelly Digest, Vol 11, Issue 44

Copper sulfate.

Copper poisoning is the (main) reason you need sheep-specific feed versus
goat or poultry feed. I know several folks who have run sheep and cattle
together...and lost sheep because they got after a cattle mineral lick that
had copper of some kind.

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