Small-Scale Sheep Keeping

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Personally I'd go with option 2. Health Heptavac P is good. Timing seems right. Assuming introduced animals getting course of 2 injections? What are you doing with lambs, or do you finish quickly and not vacc? If you have orf then I'd use Scabivax. Footvax if you have footrot although I would aim to eradicate if I had a small flock You only need to bolus if short of something.

I'd always advise blood testing or liver sampling to assess your particular trace element needs. Find what you are short of and supplement that. A lot of money is wasted supplementing with things you don't need, or by using ineffective products. MV accreditation is great. Do you have diagnosed fluke on the farm? What you are doing seems to be less than a lot of people would require. My concern is you may not have a fluke problem and be treating unnecessarily OR you have a problem and you are not doing enough.

Have you had active fluke found in livers or found fluke eggs?

Small-Scale Sheep Keeping

That would be my first suggestion. Worming ewes - maybe one a year if you must.

As close to lambing as you can, leave ewes with singles or in good condition untreated. If they scour at another time you need to collect a sample and get a worm egg count done. They shouldn't need treating at other times of the year, may other things will make ewes scour.

Lambs I would also advise treatment based on FEC.


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You collect a sample from 10 lambs and drop it in to your vet. Many do it in house, some send them away. We try and do them while the client waits. Not always possible.


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The need to treat is based on various factors - not just a simple egg count number. Once we have a level where we need to worm we ought to take a sample afterwards the timing depends on the product to ensure it as worked. This post drench check is vital. Realistically most farms have white drench resistance, but it remains a useful and safe product for first drench for lambs for nematodirus based on forecasts and local knowledge.

Hatch is weather dependant so you can't mark it on the calendar for next year - even though some people do! Treating too early is wasteful. Treating too late can leave a heap of dead lambs. After that sample when lambs have dirty backsides or not growing. We have some guys worming lambs maybe twice in a season including the nematodirus dose.

Sheep Farming For Beginners

You need to alternate effective products, but you need the post drench checks to see what works on your farm. You also need a decent quarantine protocol for sheep brought onto the farm Zolvix or Startect and some treatment for scab. Depending on your wormer resistance profile there may be a role for these products in other groups of animals.

Dosing every 4 weeks is not good enough and will lead to resistance. I'd wait with bated breath and see how the post drench checks pan out. NADIS is a good source of info on diseases and they have a parasite forecast to give an idea of need to treat for fluke and nematodirus.

SCOPS will tell you everything you need to know about fluke and worms. EBLEX has a lot of good resources generally free from industry bias.

Realistic small scale sheep system | The Farming Forum

Get a proper health plan drawn up with your vet. They know what is happening locally. They will give you the correct advice. Thank you, much appreciated Yes, I'd feel odd with no stock at all, but a good simple system is a must for it to work, also glad I'm not the only one that keeps them out as long as possible, have you had any problems with twin lamb?

Starting with Sheep; My Three Golden Rules

I have this year for the first time. The feeding layout confirms the sort of thing I had in mind, any photo's of your set-up? I cannot possibly say all that needs to be said about lambing in the space of this article and what follows is just the briefest of summaries. Lambing, for most people is the most thrilling and satisfying part of sheep keeping. It is also the most important and demanding part and if it goes wrong, the most distressing!! Read all the books you can find on the subject and by all means go on a course at your local agricultural college, but there is no substitute for the real thing and nothing will teach you as much as working with a professional shepherd at lambing time in a large flock.

Make sure you know how to deal with prolapses, breach births, and large lambs that have to be pulled out. You can also get clued up on treating lambs with hyperthermia and fostering orphan lambs, although I have kept sheep for fifteen years and have never had the need or the opportunity to do either. However, I have had a ewe that gave birth to quads and we had to supplement the ewes milk with bottle fed formula. I have also had to restrain a ewe still while her lamb suckled from her because she had totally rejected it.

Most people have the impression that ewes nearly always give birth at night and, in fact, a lot do, but in my experience they can give birth at any time of the day or night and in my little flock, if there is a peak period, it is probably early afternoon. If you have used the raddle as previously described you will know when your ewe is due to lamb and they are very rarely more than about one day late.

When she is starting her labour the ewe will usually wander off on her own to a quiet spot and if all goes well expel her lamb or lambs with very little fuss. After a few minutes the lambs usually struggle to their feet, stumble around for a few minutes more and then after a few failed attempts find the ewes teat and begin to suckle.

Sheep Farming: What You Need to Know

You can take a chance and just let the ewes give birth out in the field, but if something goes wrong it is much better to have them in a confined space in a building of some kind and preferably with some decent lights. Most sheep farmers will divide up their shed space into a number of cubicles known as lambing pens with each one just big enough for one ewe and her lambs. You can try getting the ewe into one of these pens before she lambs but I found that with my sheep this seemed to distress them and leave them very agitated, so during the day I let them graze in a small paddock and at night I confine them to an open yard next to the lambing pens and let them drop their first lamb outside.

I then pick up the lamb and carry it into the pen. As long as the ewe can see the lamb the whole time she will follow you in no problem. If she loses sight of the lamb, she will probably get confused, panic and go back to the spot where she gave birth to look for it. Most of my ewes have twins and there is usually about a half hour interval between their arrival, so that should give you time to get her into the pen before the second one arrives.

Once she has her lambs the ewe will be quite happy to stay there in the pen for at least twenty four hours while the lambs build up their strength. One little fact that none of the books seem to mention is that giving birth seems to make a sheep madly thirsty and once the lambs have been safely delivered you should give the ewe a bucket of clean water.

She will nearly always drink most of it in about thirty seconds. The newborn lamb will have the remains of the umbilical cord hanging from its navel and you should bathe this in an iodine solution as soon as possible to prevent infection. Domestic sheep have been bred for several thousand years to produce an abundance of wool that has to be sheared off them every summer.

You still have to have your sheep shorn though. You can shear sheep with hand clippers costing about twenty quid, but most folk will find it too hard going and call in a professional shearer with all the modern gear. For a small flock this is usually unpleasantly expensive but you have to do it. Shearing might seem romantic and I and many others find it fascinating to watch, but it is bloody hard work and the guys who do it will earn their money.

Most professional shearers, incidentally, make Ross Poldark look like a wimp. The exact date will depend on the breed, the area of the country, the weather and the shearers work load. Lambs are not shorn, so a sheep born in spring will be just over a year old when it is first sheared.


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Regardless of gender it is then known as a shearling. When, in the following year, it is shorn again it becomes known as a two shear and so on.

Realistic small scale sheep system

Like lambing, this is a vast topic that I cannot hope to cover fully and is like gardening, probably something you continue learning about all your life. I think it is fair to say, though, that the vast majority of sheep ailments centre around newborn lambs and pregnant or lactating ewes; so, if for any reason you decide to keep sheep but not breed from them, you will be far less likely to encounter a problem. There are any number of illnesses that could suddenly appear in your sheep and so for this reason you should look at all your animals at least once a day. Believe it or not, someone asked me once if a sheep would come and tell you if it felt ill.