Don’t take the risk, quarantine newly-purchased sheep

Sheep farmers up and down the country over the past few weeks have been very active across marts.

This is particularly evident when it comes to breeding sheep and store lambs, with many mart managers reporting an increasing number of beef farmers dipping into the store lamb market.

The trade over the last few weeks has been quite strong, and even though the trade for finished lambs took a hit after the Eid al-Adha festival, prices have recovered over the last two-to-three weeks.

The store lamb trade has been strong for quite awhile now and so has the trade for breeding sheep.

Speaking to farmers and mart managers, both are in agreement that the trade for store lambs and breeding sheep is up on 2019 levels.

However, despite the strong trade of late, farmers who have or are intending on buying stock must quarantine newly-purchased sheep.

The introduction of new sheep onto the farm is the greatest disease threat to an existing flock. 

Every sheep farm is different in terms of management, disease status and the immune status of the flock and an action plan needs to be in place for the treatment and management of bought-in sheep to minimise the risk of introducing new diseases into the existing flock.

Furthermore, it is also possible to introduce drug-resistant parasites with the transfer of new sheep into a flock.

All bought in or returning sheep should be isolated from the rest of the flock and kept in quarantine for at least three weeks, if not four, to allow for preventative treatments to be administered and regular inspections for signs of disease.

By allowing a quarantine period of 21-28 days, you are giving yourself a chance to weigh up and identify any problems that might be associated with the newly-purchased sheep and avoid those issues becoming a problem within the existing flock on the farm.

By quarantining newly-purchased sheep, this will then give you a chance to tackle those problems, whether it is a lameness issue – for example.