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

MEDICINES

How one sheep farmer eliminated watery mouth and joint ill

Matthew Isaac has reduced cases of watery mouth and joint ill at lambing to nothing by using good bacteria to keep infections at bay.   Mr Isaac, who runs a…

SHEEP

How shearing lambs can improve growth and reduce labour

Removing the fleeces of lambs is helping lift growth rates and improve flock management on a Welsh farm. Debbie James reports. Shearing every lamb in its first summer is increasing growth rates by up to 20g a…

MEDICINES

How Anglesey farmers have cut antibiotics at lambing by 60%

Sheep farmers on Anglesey have cut antibiotics use during lambing by almost 60% over a two-year period. By improving nutrition, hygiene, colostrum quality and management, a group of seven farmers…

PARASITIC DISEASES

Sheep farmer sees four clear benefits of plunge-dipping

Safe and efficient plunge-dipping is a key part of a thorough flock health plan for Northumberland commercial lamb producer Selby North-Lewis. Always a big believer in plunge-dipping, Mr North-Lewis’ flock,…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How Borders flock is using targeted selective treatments

Selective treatments as part of a responsible wormer programme have seen a Scottish Borders farm slash ewe drenching and keep old actives working. The Logans, who won Farmers Weekly's Sheep…

SHEEP

4 changes a young farmer made to family sheep farm

When young farmer Catherine Sanderson was gifted a third of her grandparents’ farming business, she knew she wanted to help drive it forward without stepping on their toes. Grandparents Ken…

Practical advice

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SHEEP

Q&A: What is toxoplasma and how can you prevent it?

It is thought almost all sheep flocks in the UK have been exposed to the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can cause miscarriages, stillbirths and weak lambs. Sheep vet Fiona Lovatt…

SHEEP

Advice for buying rams and observing quarantine protocols

More rams are likely to be sold direct off-farm this year due to the cancellation of some breeding sales under Covid-19 restrictions. That means asking for a “bill of health”…

PARASITIC DISEASES

How to control gastrointestinal parasites in sheep and cattle

Gastrointestinal (GI) parasites are major contributors to reduced ruminant productivity, and if left unmanaged or untreated, can have devastating effects on animal welfare and farm productivity. Large populations of these…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Advice on testing and keeping water clean for livestock

A “control, check and clean” approach to managing water quality in cattle drinking troughs can encourage higher intakes and remove harmful bacteria. Contaminated water will reduce intakes – with cattle…

FOOT HEALTH

Why farmers should tackle sheep lameness before summer spike

Sheep producers should introduce extra management measures to tackle lameness in flocks ahead of a seasonal summer spike, warn vets. Vet Joe Angell from Wern Vets in north Wales explains…

PARASITIC DISEASES

10 things you may not know about coccidiosis

Coccidiosis (Eimeria) is one of the most widespread and costly livestock diseases, causing significant gut damage and production losses in lambs and calves. Coccidiosis is primarily seen in young non-immune…

Insights

SHEEP

Why a spring spike in dead lambs occurs despite vaccinations

A spike in pasteurella in dead lambs, aged five to eight weeks, has been seen again this spring despite farmers vaccinating ewes for the disease. Typically found in northern England…

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…