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 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…

PARASITIC DISEASES

Faecal egg count trial cuts wormer use on Welsh sheep farms

Sheep farms that have adopted faecal egg counting (FEC) to monitor parasite burdens have reported a big reduction in the frequency of wormer treatments needed. The sheep farms were taking…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

How a Welsh farm reduced ewe mortality by tackling OPA

A Welsh farm has successfully tackled an infectious form of lung cancer in sheep with a radical scan-and-cull policy. Ovine pulmonary adenocarcinoma (OPA) is caused by a virus which infects…

Practical advice

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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…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

4 livestock health issues to address ahead of turnout

For those who haven’t already turned out cattle, below Sophia Elworthy from Torch Farm Vets gives her tips for jobs to complete ahead of turnout. See also: Q&A: Everything you need…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Coronavirus: Advice for vets and farmers

Vets and farmers have been included on the list of key workers, published by the government amid the coronavirus pandemic. This means farm animals are still able to receive care…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How to recognise and manage ringwomb in livestock in labour

Ringwomb is also known as incomplete dilation of the cervix more than six hours after foetal membranes appear at the vulva. If the onset of first-stage labour was missed (in…

SHEEP

9 flock management tips to combat the wet spring

Prolonged wet weather is causing a headache for many sheep farmers, who are struggling to turn out sheep. Waterlogged fields are forcing shepherds to look at alternative feed options, and…

FEED AND NUTRITION

6 tips to avoid mycotoxins in silage ahead of harvest

The presence of mycotoxins in silage can cause huge repercussions for livestock producers, with issues ranging from reduced feed intake to abortion often a result of a mycotoxicosis infection. However,…

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…