Outstanding advice from an outstanding business! We feel we have to share a short sequence of emails with you. Shortly after taking on our first couple of sheep we decided to write an annual health management plan for them – if we can get it in the diary then it’s got far more chance of happening when it’s supposed to! Anyway, I finally got round to thanking Keith by saying that it was without a doubt the best and most comprehensive response to a request for information that we had ever received. Please do support them if you’re in the area and need something for your farm or smallholding, although we’ve found their delivery service pretty amazing too! You can visit their site here by clicking on their logo or by clicking the link at the bottom of the post. Happy reading…
Hope you can help? We’ve visited you a couple of times and have always been really pleased with your help and advice. We’ve just taken on our first sheep, a castrate ram Ouessant and a whole ewe Ouessant (the tiny sheep).
They have never been vaccinated against anything and haven’t had any worm treatment etc. since birth. They are now about 9 months old. What sort of health management programme should we have, what products, when, how much etc. Have mastered foot trimming though!
Looking forward to receiving your advice.
Adrian & Joanne Lloyd
Adrian and Joanne
Thank you for this enquiry, we love these kind of questions and we have tried to not go overboard on the amount of information below and as such haven’t covered every eventuality. If however you have a specific question you are welcome ask.
The few areas we suggest you consider are nutrition, parasites, feet and vaccines.
With regard to nutrition, there are a plethora of supplements and minerals you can feed your sheep, however unless you are aware of any specific deficiencies, we recommend through the winter to feed an Energy Bucket – a molassed bucket with a good general purpose blend of minerals & vitamins.
You will only need one for the two sheep and these are left in the field for the sheep to access ad lib. This will help your sheep keep good condition through the challenges of bad weather.
You will probably heard of an illness called grass staggers. This is a condition caused by a shortage of magnesium. When grass is rapidly growing such as early spring or late autumn, the magnesium can get ‘locked up’ in the grass and is not digested by the sheep. This shortage can cause the illness known as staggers and can lead to the death of sheep. The prevention is to have a mineral bucket – similar to the Energy Bucket mentioned above, but with a Hi Mag content. We will communicate with smallholders at the right time of year about these kind of things.
With regard to vaccines – again there are many that are designed to deal with specific risks. Such as Footvax. If you are unaware of any specific risks for your land or sheep, then we would suggest you just use Heptavac P+. This will vaccinate against the eight clostridial diseases (Braxy, Blackleg, Lamb Dysentry, Pulpy Kidney, Struck, Tetanus, Black Disease, Clostridial Metrisis) as well as Pasteurella. The dosage for this is 2ml by injection, followed by another 4-6 weeks later.
Unfortunately the smallest bottle of this is 50ml and once opened has to be used within 10 hours, so you would waste 46ml on two occasions. We are launching a new ‘medshare programme’ that organises for a number of owners to share a bottle on the same day in rotation to avoid this waste.
For Parasite control, there are two specific types – internal & external. Internal being commonly referred to as worms and external being flies & lice.
Worms have a lifecycle that revolves from eggs in faeces that become larvae on the grass, digested by grazing sheep, then mature in the sheep and cause damage to organs, challenge the digestion and can lead to other illnesses taking hold if condition is reduced. This is a simplified explanation, but it is important you consider worm control in the annual plan. If the ground you graze is particularly wet for any period of the year, please let me know as we may need to recommend a flukicide too.
For worm control you may use either a drench – for example Noromectin, (this comes in 1 Lit. bottles with a dosage rate of 2.5ml per kilo bodyweight) or injection, for example Noromectin Injection at a dose rate of 0.5ml per 25 kilos bodyweight by subcutaneous injection in the loose skin on the neck.
This comes in a 50ml bottle. Both of these have a longer shelf life than the Heptavac, but again we will be putting these in the Medshare Programme.
Sheep can suffer particularly from lice and fly strike. Due to the fleece being a great place for flies to lay eggs – quite often near to the back end where faeces are sometimes stuck to the fleece. The fly larvae hatch and effectively start to eat the sheep. This sounds dramatic, but can be fatal and needs protecting against.
The two methods in combination are to ‘dag’ your sheep – trim the fleece around the back end with electric or hand shears to remove the area that may otherwise attract flies. The second is to use a fly prevention product such as Click or Crovect or Clikzin. These all tend to do the same job of preventing fly strike, but last for different periods of time. As fly strike isn’t normally an issue until the weather is warm, we recommend you diarise when you are going to shear and use either Clik or Clikzin so the end of its effective period coincides with your shearing. I.e. you don’t want to apply a treatment that is effective for 16 weeks to the fleece, only two weeks before you have the fleece sheared off! We will be communicating offers at the right time for both these products, but I would suggest you keep a small bottle of Clik at the ready from spring onwards.
Clickzin – which lasts for approx. 6 weeks and is predominately a preventative measure.
Click – which lasts for approx 16 weeks maximum is also a preventative product.
Crovect – This lasts for up to 14 weeks for lice and ticks and for blowflies for 6-8 weeks. You may also use this product direct if you have a strike.
Energy Bucket – £15.29
Hi Mag Bucket – £15.36
50ml Heptavac P+ – £19.20
5ml Disposable Syringe – £0.25
19g 1″ Disposable Needle – £0.19
Noromectin Drench 1L – £20.95
50ml Dosing Syringe – £0.79
50ml Noromectin Injection £19.00
5ml Disposable Syringe – £0.25
19g x 1″ Disposable Needle – £0.19
800ml Clik – £50.00
Pour On applicator – £38.10
3.5″ Hand Shears – £20.40
All these prices assume we have provided a smallholders discount card. Prices exclude VAT & valid for 30 days.
We trust you find this useful and not too much. We could go on with more permutations if you would like, but its probably more useful to provide this outline and answer specific questions as you have them. Myself (Keith) or my colleague Mick are available at any time to answer your questions.
If you would like to know more about the Medshare and Equipment Share Programmes, please let me know. If you are a member of a smallholder group and you think other members would be interested in our products & services, we would welcome the opportunity to meet them and discuss this.
If you would like to join the Smallholder Discount scheme, again let me know and I will send you an email to complete. (Its FREE & you get 10% of almost everything except feeds).
Farm & Country Supplies