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

SHEEP

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…

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…

Practical advice

See all

SHEEP

A guide to working out drench resistance in your flock

Testing for anthelmintic resistance in sheep is important to get parasites under control. We talk to Ben Strugnell of Farm Port Mortems, County Durham, to find out the best way…

SHEEP

How to work out your flock’s trace element requirements

Trace elements are minerals such as copper, selenium, cobalt, iodine, manganese and zinc that are essential for life. Optimal flock performance depends on them being supplied correctly. But how do…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

4 plants poisonous to livestock: How to spot and deal with

Many poisonous plants are bitter and unpalatable while they are growing and will not be eaten by livestock under normal circumstances. Therefore, when plant ingestion and poisoning occur there is…

PARASITIC DISEASES

8 steps for cleaner grazing to reduce worm burden

It is well known that the problem of worms in lambs (parasitic gastroenteritis – PGE) leads to losses through reduced growth and death, and it has been estimated the annual…

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”…

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…