Replacement disease risks

4 August 2000

Replacement disease risks

MORE than 47% of flocks purchasing replacement breeding stock this autumn are unlikely to quarantine them, increasing the risk of a disease outbreak. These are the disturbing findings of a survey conducted by Intervet.

Speaking at the launch of the companys booklet Managing Your Replacement Ewes, its business development manager Graham Webster expressed concern at the findings of the survey conducted on 433 flocks, with more than 100 ewes.

"Producers breeding their own replacement stock tend to be more confident about flock health with only 31% quarantining replacement stock. However, it is worrying that 47% of flocks purchasing replacements are unlikely to quarantine them."

But there is confusion about whether flocks are open or closed which can lead to a lax approach to quarantine, said independent sheep consultant Lesley Stubbings.

"A flock is either closed or open; there is no inbetween. Even when you only buy in tups, it presents a biosecurity problem. All purchased animals should be quarantined for a minimum of three weeks in an area where there is no nose-to-nose contact with the existing flock.

"The belief held by some flockmasters that immediately mixing purchased animals with existing stock helps to develop their immunity is incorrect."

Introducing new animals to the unit should protect the existing flock from new diseases and a health plan to protect purchased animals.

from diseases already present in the main flock, advises Miss Stubbings.

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