Raising Healthy Sheep

Raising Healthy Sheep

As successful farmers may tell you raising healthy sheep means that you have to take account of a whole range of factors including:

Good Nutrition. The nutrition of your flock involves factors such as pasture management, soil chemistry, liming and fertiliser programme, resistance to facial eczema, worm resistance and many other factors. Fernleaf Rams are bred for worm resistance with less scouring making them more efficient in up-taking available nutrition.

Drench resistance. With the increase in the resistance of parasites to the various forms of drenches it has become important to have sheep which are worm resistant themselves resulting in far less need for drenching and greater all round health. Fernleaf Rams are bred to be as worm and facial eczema resistance as possible for greater health.

Firm stools. As many farmers have found, sheep with firm stools are less susceptible to fly strike. Fernleaf Rams are bred to produce firm stools (trending towards marbling) thereby resulting in far less impact from the ravages of flystrike. The advantage of having Fernleaf Ram genes in your flock means that your flock should have less flystrike and higher-quality fleeces.

Lambing percentages and survivability. In addition to lambing percentages, a key factor is that healthy sheep produce higher survivability levels from conception to lambing and from birth to market. With the emphasis on breeding healthy sheep for worm and facial eczema resistance farmers can expect higher survivability levels in both ewes and lambs.          

Biosecurity is important no matter what size flock or farm you have. It only takes one sheep to introduce a new disease and one farm to start a disease epidemic. Before adding new sheep to your farm/flock, it is important to know the health status of the flock(s) from which you are buying or receiving animals. Fernleaf Rams specialise in breeding healthy sheep and we stand behind our record.

Source good stock from reputable breeders. Only buy sheep from reputable breeders. Ideally, you should purchase sheep from closed flocks. A closed flock is a flock that has not introduced new animals for the past three or more years. It is best to buy sheep from as few sources as possible and we pride ourselves on being reputable breeders.

Clean or safe pastures Clean or safe pastures are those which are not contaminated with the worm larvae that affect sheep. Examples of clean pastures include pastures that have not been grazed by sheep or goats for the past 6 to 12 months or pastures which have been grazed by horses or cattle; pasture fields in which a hay or silage crop has been removed. Earthworms have been shown to ingest worm eggs and larvae, either killing them or carrying them below the soil surface. Certain types of fungi will trap and kill parasitic larvae. Dung beetles ingest and disperse manure, thus keeping eggs and larvae from developing. Don’t laugh! We understand that trials are taking place on the introduction of dung beetles. Mind you, a good way of keeping pasture clean is to introduce Fernleaf Rams which have been bred to be resistant to worms and hence have a lower worm count.

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