Know How / Sheep / Husbandry

Youngstock management in sheep flocks is a vital component of productivity and key to maintaining a good health status. Keep up with the major issues affecting ewe and ram lamb replacements including newborn care, breed selection, genetics, disease prevention and purchasing policy.

Case studies

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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 a Cumbrian farm saved £18 a ewe

A complete change of mindset has seen a Cumbrian farm halve variable costs a ewe tupped from £34 to £16.53 in just five years.   Paul and Nicola Renison moved…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How a farmer reduced prolapses with a self-feed silage system

A Welsh upland farm has slashed the number of prolapses at lambing by 75% since introducing a self-feed silage system for pregnant ewes.   John Parry put the system in…

SHEEP

How a new entrant built up flock on short-term land tenures

Sheep farming can be a tough enterprise anyway, but if you’re starting with no farm, no assets and limited experience, sheer determination is worth more than anything else. Young farmer…

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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LAMBING

Sheep flock health and welfare must-haves for less than £20

Simple things can be bought cheaply that can improve the hygiene and health of your flock. And with market volatility and rules governing animal welfare and antibiotic stewardship placing more…

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…

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,…

HOUSING AND HANDLING

Good sheep handling: Why it matters and how to improve it

Handling sheep may not come with the safety risk seen with cattle but ensuring systems are set up correctly goes a long way to reducing labour inputs and sheep stress.…

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…

HUSBANDRY

Video: Step-by-step guide to best sheep-shearing technique

A good shearing technique can add value to a fleece, while correct handling and control of the sheep protects the shearer’s back from injury. With farmers now finding it difficult…

Insights

LIVESTOCK

4 sheep recording methods compared: which one is best?

Carmarthenshire sheep farmer and Aberystwyth University graduate Huw Williams completed a HCC scholarship in 2015 looking at how extensive systems in New Zealand and Australia were recording parentage. Talking about…

SHEEP

Research shows value of monitoring ewe body condition

New research has shown just how valuable it is to record and monitor body condition in commercial ewe flocks and keep it consistent year-round.   Independent sheep consultant Lesley Stubbings…

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…

LAMBING

Sheep industry and farmers rally to tackle black loss

Concern is mounting in the Scottish sheep sector around a phenomenon severely limiting the economic performance and genetic progress of many upland flocks.  The perennial and unaccountable disappearance of lambs…

LIVESTOCK

Weaning lambs early could offer big benefits, trial shows

Early weaned lambs can grow as fast – if not – faster than their unweaned equivalents when fed legume-based forages. Research by New Zealand’s Massey University has found with the right…

Pros and cons of leaving male lambs entire

Are there any advantages of leaving male lambs entire? The answer is certainly, yes, but producers who consider reaping the benefits must also be aware of the management challenges it…

Alternative ewe protein offers cost-effective solution

Sheep farmers looking to top up protein in late-pregnancy ewe diets can use alternatives to soya without affecting animal performance. According to a project funded by Eblex, HCC, Adas and…