Know How / Sheep / Health and welfare

Poor flock health undermines productivity and causes welfare issues. Read the latest thinking on treatments for foot-rot, worms and fly strike along with veterinary advice on diseases such as Schmallenberg and liver fluke, as well as lambing issues including twin lamb disease, abortion, watery mouth and hypothermia.

Case studies

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…

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…

LAMBING

How one farmer is delivering 1.8 lambs sold per ewe

Challenging grazing conditions posed by Cotswold brash stony soils that climb up to steep inclines of 750ft make running a low-input, grass-based system untenable at Church Farm in North Stoke.…

SHEEP

How remote parasite monitoring cuts labour and resistance

Fast and accurate faecal egg counts (FECs) are slowing the rate of anthelmintic resistance and saving on labour for a large Scottish Borders sheep operation. Farmers Weekly visited Bowhill Farming…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How livestock producers cope with predators

Introducing large carnivores into the British countryside is a notion that has left many livestock farmers concerned about increased sheep mortality and unwanted extra costs. Through reintroducing species such as…

MEDICINES

7 ways a sheep farmer has cut antibiotics use

The use of wood shavings in lambing pens has put an end to blanket use of antibiotics against watery mouth at lambing and is part of an overall strategy which…

Practical advice

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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…

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…

PARASITIC DISEASES

Hydatid disease in sheep: What it is and how to prevent it

Hydatid disease still represents a real health concern for sheep and farmers. The Welsh government attempted to eradicate the disease by launching a voluntary control programme in the 1980s. This…

FOOT HEALTH

Advice on how to vaccinate sheep against foot-rot

Vaccination to reduce foot-rot in sheep is just one part of a national five-point plan designed to lessen overall disease pressure from infectious lameness, by improving flock resilience to the…

Insights

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…

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…

PARASITIC DISEASES

Video: How farmers are uniting to eradicate sheep scab

Sheep scab is a huge problem and if left untreated can affect a sheep's health and severely impact a sheep business. One mite is enough to spread the disease and…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

Farm trial aims to solve risk of fluke-infected snails

A technique which identifies the presence of mud snails infected with fluke is being used to help Welsh farms determine fields posing the greatest risk to animals. The presence of…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How farmer-vet 'clubs' are improving flock health

The contact between sheep farmer and vet is often a once yearly affair focused on meeting flock health planning requirements, but a relatively new collaborative concept is forging stronger relationships…

SHEEP

Wormer trial shows faecal egg counting can cut drench costs

A research project has found using new technology and faecal egg counting can help halve drench use and save money and time. The Techion Group/Sainsbury’s project, looking at remote location…

LAMBING

How sheep colostrum trials are helping to reduce antibiotics

Trials are comparing two lamb blood tests in a bid to reduce antibiotics use on farms through optimising ewe nutrition and health.  A series of farm studies has compared refractometer tests…

MEDICINES

How the sheep industry plans to reduce antibiotics use

Sheep industry bodies are collecting data on the sector’s antibiotics usage to help develop a strategy that promotes best practice and cuts the risk of developing drug resistance. Worldwide concern about…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

Exclusive: Sheep data supports Johne's diagnosis concerns

Post-mortem data on the incidence of Johne’s in fallen sheep supports concerns that the disease is “majorly under-diagnosed” across the UK, according to UK vets. Johne’s disease was picked up…

How to best check your sheep flock for fluke

Acute fluke is already being detected in condemned livers at abattoirs this autumn, with experts predicting the challenge in some areas to be significant. Sheep vet Matt Colston from Elanco…