2014-07-21  facebooktwitterrss

Reduce Lameness and Save £6 per Sheep

Farmers can save themselves over £6 a ewe by refusing to accept that having 10% or more of their flock lame is normal.


The advice from vet Fergal Morris addressing lamb producers attending a Parklands Veterinary Group workshop on the Caledon farm of Rainey Aiken.

Host farmer Rainey Aiken, centre, of Caledon, Co Tyrone with vets Fergal Morris, MSD Animal Health and Craig McAlister, right, of Parklands Veterinary Group at the sheep

Host farmer Rainey Aiken, centre, of Caledon, Co Tyrone with vets Fergal Morris, MSD Animal Health and Craig McAlister, right, of Parklands Veterinary Group at the sheep

“Taking into account weight loss, vet bills and early culling lameness can cost up to £600 in a 100 strong flock,” the MSD Animal Health vet added.

“Don’t tolerate one in ten ewes about the place lame when the target for a good lamb producer is a maximum of 2%. Right across these islands around 90% of lameness is due to either scald or footrot

“Where footrot is a problem the response planned in co-operation with your local practice must include vaccination with Footvax vaccine. This should be done along with foot bathing and separating off problem sheep from the main flock until their feet are sorted. Culling being the final solution for ewes that simply do not recover fully.”

Fergal Morris also urged producers to quarantine bought in sheep for 28 days as part of the on going battle to keep ewes and rams on all fours and fully productive.

“As regards Footvax this proven vaccine, already very popular in other parts of the UK, is normally administered as a single dose to protect for up to six months. Where footrot is a huge issue in a flock then a second injection might be advised by your vet four to six weeks later.”

If sheep have footrot they can also be treated with antibiotics. Above all identifying correctly the cause of lameness is vital before planning a response that will improve animal welfare, flock health and farm income.

A well illustrated, pocket sized booklet on sheep lameness is available free from AgriSearch, the NI Agricultural Research and Development Council.

Where digital Dermatitis is suspected Fergal Morris is adamant it is time to ask your local veterinary practice to advise. “Digital Dermatitis is difficult to treat and acting promptly to keep it out of the flock is strongly recommended.”

Agrisearch

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