Know How / Health and welfare

Animal health is critical to all producers of dairy and beef cattle, sheep and pigs. Get advice on dealing with livestock diseases such as, bovine TB and mastitis, and conditions such as heat stress, lameness and ewe prolapse. See best practice on vaccination, medicines and reducing antibiotics.

Case studies

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How on-farm mastitis test helped farmer cut antibiotics use

Rather than reaching for antibiotics at the first sign of mastitis, the team at Camerton Farm, Radstock, now do a milk bacteriology test  for every case on farm and then…

LAYERS

Rearer's advice on getting pullets off to a good start

Modern hybrid hens are genetically sophisticated and achieving their productive potential will only be possible if the development period from chick to hen is carefully managed. Attention to detail is…

FOOT HEALTH

How sheep farmer has reduced lameness to just 3%

First-generation farmer Richard Fairbairn has reduced lameness in his sheep flock from 10% to 3% by vaccinating ewes and changing his buying practices. Mr Fairbairn, who farms in partnership with…

LIVESTOCK

Durham farm saves costs with grassland focus and weighing

Measuring and recording grass growth and weighing livestock more frequently has opened up cost-saving opportunities on an upland grazing farm. David and Joyce Monkhouse of Low Houselop Farm, Tow Law,…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How a sheep farmer has reduced lameness by 28%

A Cheshire sheep farmer who has reduced lameness rates to just 2% from a one-time high of 30% says working with a Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) at his animal health…

BEEF

How a beef farmer cut antibiotics use in suckler herd by 74%

Suckler-finisher Sebastian Richardson and his family have cut antibiotics use by 74% since 2015. In a pioneering approach to his herd management, Mr Richardson of Townsend Farm, Oundle, has been…

Practical advice

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HEALTH AND WELFARE

Common signs of illness in pigs and tips for treatment

The identification and prompt treatment of sick animals is a key part of ensuring high animal welfare for livestock producers. Particularly for high-risk enterprises such as pig production, having the…

FOOT HEALTH

Advice for quarantining incoming sheep to prevent lameness

Poor quarantine is one of the weakest links in the livestock sector, allowing disease to enter farms. Sheep vet consultant Fiona Lovatt from Flock Health says farmers need to start…

SHEEP

What to do if you're a victim of... sheep worrying

Sheep producers suffered an average of seven attacks per flock in the 12-month survey period in 2017, according to the National Sheep Association’s annual survey. Ultimately, preventing sheep worrying should…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Should you trim sheep's feet to control lameness?

Foot-trimming is one of the first tasks many shepherds learn. However, we now know in most cases foot-trimming will make the problem worse. Vet Emily Gascoigne from Synergy Farm Health…

LAYERS

3 key ways to control salmonella in layers

The introduction of live vaccines for salmonella in layers in the early part of the last decade and the UK national control programme have been effective at controlling the bacteria. But…

FOOT HEALTH

Step-by-step guide to foot-bathing sheep

Many farmers wrongly believe routine foot-trimming helps control lameness and promotes better mobility. But it can actually spread bacteria and exacerbate lameness prevalence within flocks. This is also true of…

Insights

BOVINE TB

Dairy farmers tell the real stories behind bovine TB statistics

Welsh dairy farmers have laid bare the huge emotional and financial costs of dealing with an outbreak of bovine TB. According to Defra’s latest bovine TB statistics, the total number…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Benefits of cross-breeding dairy and is it right for you?

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have been comparing the performance of three-way-cross cows (made up of Viking Red, Montbeliarde and Holstein) to Holsteins. It differs from a similar study…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Sheep lameness: The successes and remaining challenges

In 2012, Farmers Weekly launched the Stamp Out Lameness campaign after sheep lameness hit the government's radar when the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) put forward an Opinion on Lameness…

FOOT HEALTH

4 ways to reduce sheep lameness to less than 2% by 2021

UK flocks have already worked hard to reduce lameness to less than 5% by 2016, but the next target set by the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) is to reduce…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How latest red mite treatments perform in poultry flocks

Red mite is a pervasive pest present on almost all commercial poultry farms with varying degrees of severity. Mites can drink up to 5% of a bird's blood every night, and…

MEDICINES

How a farmer-led project helps dairies reduce antibiotics use

Antibiotics are a hot topic on dairy farms across the UK, with many producers working to cut their use to meet government or milk contract targets. While many of these…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Q&A: How cold plasma could reduce reliance on antibiotics

A cutting-edge laboratory investigating a new technology with the ability to reduce harmful chemicals and antibiotics in the food chain – and lessen the threat of anti-microbial resistance (AMR) –…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Research shows benefits of pair housing calves pre-weaning

Pair housing calves before weaning can help them adapt better to different situations as they mature, leading to improved concentrate intakes and higher growth compared with those housed alone. Professor…

OTHER POULTRY

What UK farmers can learn from German turkey beak trim ban

The laying hen sector in the UK is working hard to determine exactly how farmers might manage without beak treatments. But in Germany a ban has been extended to turkeys…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

What changes to maedi visna scheme mean for sheep farmers

Changes to the maedi visna (MV) accreditation scheme mean stricter rules for MV-accredited flocks that are buying in stock or have non-accredited sheep at the same holding. The MV accreditation…