Buyer Beware - Safeguarding the Health of Your Sheep


Summary written by Chris Lewis MRCVS
Taken from Moredun Foundation Newsheet Volume 4 No. 12 (2006)



  • mature-ewe-lambsThe introduction of purchased sheep either into an existing flock or to establish a new flock is fraught with problems. However, the danger of introducing disease can be minimised by the adoption of sound biosecurity principles and procedures.
  • This newsheet is not intended to provide a complete list of all the potential diseases that can be introduced when sheep are purchased. However, avoidance of purchasing sheep from flocks in which these diseases are present will help in the establishment of a healthy flock.
  • Consider whether to purchase sheep accredited free from Maedi Visna (MV) or Enzootic Abortion (EAE). The purchase of rams also provides an ideal opportunity to improve the scrapie status of the flock.
  • When buying replacement stock, try to purchase directly from individual flocks and move them directly from the farm of origin to their new premises in your own transporter.
  • After newly purchased sheep have been transported to the home farm, they should be isolated from the resident flock or other groups of purchased sheep for 21 days. During this period they can be observed and treated for common diseases. For the individual farmer quarantine treatments allow his bottom line to improve as the treatments are con fined to a small group of sheep rather than a whole flock.
  • To ensure that the health of a flock is maintained it is essential that a Flock Health plan is established, written down and regularly updated. A written Flock Health Plan is also a requirement of the Welfare Code and in England a requirement of whole farm payment cross compliance.



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