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

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…

SHEEP

How Glos farm reduced lamb losses to half the UK average

Gloucestershire sheep farmers Martin and Pauhla Whitaker have been placing a big emphasis on flock health, in the belief that if animals are healthy it will help them be more…

FOOT HEALTH

Sheep farmer abolishes foot-rot in a year through vaccination

Lameness in sheep is not only detrimental to the animal’s health, but has repercussions on performance and profits, estimated to cost £89.80 a case. Government targets from the Farm Animal…

Practical advice

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SHEEP

6 expert tips to reduce lamb days to slaughter

Sheep farmers looking to improve profitability should put more emphasis on getting lambs finished quicker by exploiting good-quality grass. Selling lambs early contributes 45% to overall profitability. In comparison, achieving…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

Q&A: What is haemonchus and how to prevent and treat it

Good worm control plays a pivotal role in the success or failure of a sheep flock. Get it wrong, and you could be left with stunted growth rates, gut damage…

SHEEP

How to protect flock from clostridial diseases and pasteurella

Clostridial diseases and pasteurella pose a serious threat to unvaccinated sheep. Below we outline what causes each disease and how to spot it, with the help of MSD vet adviser…

SHEEP

Guidance issued on high-welfare sheep shearing

Industry organisations have produced a guide reminding farmers and professional contractors how to handle sheep during shearing to ensure they are not stressed or injured. The joint guidance, which has…

LAMBING

16 ways to reduce lamb mortality

Adequate, high-quality colostrum for lambs, provided in the first few hours of life, is essential to cutting losses. Emily Gascoigne, a specialist sheep vet with the Synergy Farm Health practice,…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

6 tips if vaccinating your flock for orf

Vaccinating sheep for orf can be an important step in addressing the costly condition in flocks, but care needs to be taken when using the vaccine, experts warn. The orf…

Insights

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…

LIVESTOCK

Trial shows sheep farmers can slow or reverse worm resistance

Using multi-active wormers in lambs to kill as many resistant worms as possible has been shown to slow or reverse wormer resistance, according to recent trial results.  Researcher Dave Leathwick,…

Eblex assurance scheme could clear up halal confusion

The constant drive to expand the potential market for British beef and lamb could soon result in a new halal assurance scheme being launched by Eblex. It could be a…

Research sheds light on tackling CODD

New research findings on contagious ovine digital dermatitis (CODD) in sheep highlight the importance of isolating bought-in stock and suggest a link to digital dermatitis in cattle. A survey of…