Now is a good time for sheep vaccinations

Sheep sale at Northeast Livestock Sale's Acklington Auction Mart.
Picture by Jane Coltman
Sheep sale at Northeast Livestock Sale's Acklington Auction Mart. Picture by Jane Coltman

The shortest day is now past, Christmas and New Year celebrations have finished, and the decorations are down.

For stock farmers, winter chores of feeding and bedding seem endless, but we now start looking forward to spring lambing and calving.

On a lot of farms the rams are coming away from the ewes and some are being housed. Condition is generally very good this year, having had plenty of grass.

There has been a rush on Footvax as now is a good time to vaccinate to keep footrot at bay during winter feeding and lambing.

Scanning duties are planned and, with luck, the results will be good. If there are too many empty ewes, remember to call us before they go to the mart as we may need to take blood samples.

Once scanning is completed fluke treatment must be considered. We normally recommend after the New Year to change from Triclabendazole to Closantel, but as the autumn and early winter were so favourable to fluke, this could be delayed until the end of January.

Sheep scab has been detected on farms in the practice. It has been brought into the area by purchased lambs and is a reminder of the risks involved in introducing new stock. Part of a farmer’s health plan should cover what to do to prevent disease coming in.

Neighbouring farmers have made plans to treat their sheep so hopefully the outbreak will be confined.

Another case of bought-in disease is a calf probably persistently infected with Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD). This is potentially very serious for the herd as it could lead to fertility problems, increased disease and the production of more persistently infected calves.

Now is the time of year for most farms to screen young stock to make sure BVD has not entered the herd so contact us to discuss.

by Andrew Sawyer.