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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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 oral dosing was cut by 70% in high-input flock

A County Durham shepherd is heading into the 2020 lambing period hoping to continue using fewer antibiotics in neonatal lambs after a major reduction last year. Graeme Wood, who has…

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…

Practical advice

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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…

SHEEP

3 ways to capitalise on high sheep scanning percentage

Favourable grazing conditions have lifted scanning rates on many UK farms, with one vet practice reporting an average increase of 10-15%. At Carmarthen Veterinary Centre, scanning percentages are up 10-15%…

HUSBANDRY

Tail docking lambs: Advice, legislation and methods compared

Tail docking is routinely carried out to avoid soiling of the fleece around a lamb’s rear and thus prevent fly strike - a painful condition where flies lay their eggs…

LAMBING

8 ways to prepare for a busy lambing season

With lambing already under way on some units and not far around the corner for most commercial sheep farms, it is timely to start thinking about preparation for lambing. It…

LAMBING

13 tips for lambing outdoors

Outdoor lambing done with the right breeds, approach and at the optimal time of year can help farms lower costs in their sheep systems. Farms lambing outdoors rely heavily on…

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…