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


Housing and hygiene tweaks help cut cases of ewe mastitis

Improvements in management and housing on a Welsh sheep farm have helped cut mastitis rates by one-third. Mastitis had been a major cause of losses in Ryan Morris’ flock of…


How farmer has reduced lameness to 2% in open flock

The Mouland family have reduced lameness from 10% to 2% and cut antibiotic use by 30% by addressing the challenge of operating an open flock proactively. Michael, Jo and their…


Estate flock halves feed cost and lifts scan rate to 186%

A major system overhaul on a lowland estate has lifted scanning rates and cut bought-in feed costs by £6.28 a ewe over the past five years. The team at Overbury…


How a grazing and stocking overhaul reduced sheep costs

Lambs are finishing earlier on a diet of grass and red clover since a Ceredigion sheep farm swapped set stocking and creep feeding for paddock grazing. The Davies family sold…


Weighing and herbal ley helps farm solve poor lamb growth

Weighing lambs more frequently and trialling a herbal ley has helped a farm identify a shortfall in iodine. Richard and Laila Carruthers of Rawfoot Farm, Shap, Cumbria, were disappointed by…


How ewe liver tissue tests are helping to fine-tune rations

Taking liver biopsies from breeding ewes is helping Welsh sheep farmers to establish the mineral status of their flocks and fine-tune rations. Testing tissue samples from the livers of live…

Practical advice

See all


Video: How to take an integrated approach to rodent control

The best way to deal with rat infestations is not to have them in the first place. Waiting until you see rats running around the farm is too late. Every…


Six-step guide to help sheep farmers cut parasite risk

A quarantine guide to help sheep farmers assess the potential risks to consider when bringing animals into a flock has been produced by the Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep…


Gid in sheep: Causes, signs, prevention and treatment 

A rise in dog walkers on farms presents a real risk for a resurgence of gid cases on sheep farms. Vet Charlotte Watkins, from Belmont Farm and Equine Vets in…


How regenerative livestock farming can aid parasite control

Regenerative farming offers numerous solutions to animal disease, says Rob Howe, vet at LLM Vets Lancashire and a Nuffield scholar. But any big change of system, such as moving to…


What is OPA and how can it be prevented or controlled?

Ovine pulmonary adenocarcinoma (OPA) – or sometimes referred to as “Jaagsiekte” – is a potentially devastating disease to sheep flocks. One recent study suggested it could be the third most…


Is cryptosporidiosis affecting your lamb performance?

Cryptosporidiosis is a parasitic infection affecting sheep that can restrict growth and increase finishing times, despite typically only affecting lambs in their first 10 days of life. It often falls…



Video: Fluke video gives powerful insight into parasite

A video documenting the different stages of the harmful liver fluke parasite has been made to help farmers understand its complex life cycle. The video (below) shows the liver fluke…


Vet survey reveals serious challenges ahead for profession

Poor retention and recruitment rates, Brexit and dissatisfaction in the industry could see a shortage of farm vets in the future if action isn’t taken.  Farmers Weekly carried out a…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…

Advertiser content

See all