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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LIVESTOCK

Why autumn lambing is a good fit for mixed farm

Livestock play a central role protecting soil health and fertility at the MacGregor Farming Partnership in Norfolk. Farmer Duncan MacGregor says muck is important, but the key is getting animals…

SHEEP

Housing and hygiene tweaks help cut cases of ewe mastitis

Improvements in management and housing on a Welsh sheep farm have helped cut mastitis rates by one-third. Mastitis had been a major cause of losses in Ryan Morris’ flock of…

SHEEP

How continental flock aims to hit 1,000kg/ha

A self-replacing terminal sire flock is now targeting 1,000kg of liveweight/ha after lifting output 27% in three years. Lamb production has lifted from 517.85kg/ha to 662.61kg/ha since 2017 at Greenfield…

SHEEP

How lambing out at grass can save on labour

When David Mactaggart got his first flock of sheep 30 years ago, he had little experience and no means to employ a full-time shepherd. He needed a "one-man-and-his-dog" system, so…

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…

Practical advice

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LIVESTOCK

How regenerative livestock farming can aid parasite control

Regenerative farming offers numerous solutions to animal disease, says Rob Howe, vet at LLM Vets Lancashire and a Nuffield scholar. But any big change of system, such as moving to…

SHEEP

Pasteurella vaccines: Common mistakes and how to avoid them

Pasteurellosis, also known as "enzootic pneumonia", remains one of the most common causes of mortality in sheep of all ages. Despite its impact, the disease is still not wholly understood.…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How milk replacer improves margins for surplus lambs

Research trials have shown rearing surplus lambs on milk replacer could clear a margin of £40 a head in a strong market. Two simultaneous trials were carried out last spring…

LIVESTOCK

5 tips for successfully feeding newborn lambs

Lambs are at their most vulnerable in their first 48 hours because they are born with no circulating antibodies and are exposed to infection for the first time. Feeding plenty…

LAMBING

Top tips for managing vet students at lambing

Lambing placements offer a window into the sheep industry, and should be seen by farmers as a good investment, says vet Emily Gascoigne of Synergy Farm Health. They might even…

FEED AND NUTRITION

6 things to consider when feeding lambs milk replacer

Artificially rearing orphan and multiple lambs puts pressure on labour and production costs, but sheep farmers who get this system right will boost their lamb crops. Reliable and consistent nutrition…

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…