Health and Welfare

Maximising health helps maximise flock productivity and is therefore a key aspect of sustainable and profitable sheep production.  Tackling health issues not only involves costs in terms of treatment, but also costs in terms of loss of production.  Good health is also important in helping meat industry and consumer expectations of high welfare and food safety.

Good management, nutrition and husbandry form the basis of disease prevention.  Health planning is an important tool not only in helping manage and minimise the impacts of know health issues within the flock, but also to help prevent and avoid health issues that currently aren’t affecting the flock.

Understanding how disease works can also be useful to farmers in developing strategies to control and manage it. QMS also holds a numbers of free workshops and events throughout the year for farmers to improve their knowledge on a range of animal health issues. We work alongside leading research institutes including The Moredun, James Hutton Institute, SRUC and SEFARI to ensure that the most up to date research is available to Scottish Farmers. Visit the events page for further information of forthcoming events in your area.

Animal health and welfare has also been covered extensively within the Monitor Farm Scotland network of meetings and events. More information is available on your local monitor farm’s activities on The Monitor Farm Scotland website.

Disease prevention is better than cure and a flock health plan, written in collaboration between the farmer, vet and advisor, can produce real benefits to the flock and to the economics of the farm business. Funding towards a specialist advice plan on animal welfare is available from The Farm Advisory Service- Integrated Land Management Plan.

Health planning is also an integral element to the QMS Cattle and Sheep Farm assurance standards. Every farm business that produces Scotch Beef PGI or Scotch Lamb PGI is required to have an Animal Health Plan in place.

On the right-hand side, you will find a range of features on how farmers have benefitted from developing a health plan, and the benefits this has brought to their business.

In our Video Library we have produced a range of videos on some key sheep health issues. These include Controlling Liver Fluke in Sheep with Fiona Lovatt,and The Benefits of Clean Grazing with Charley Walker  .

Sheep lameness is one of the leading causes of productivity loss in the sheep sector. We have produced a range of information and materials on sheep lameness available here.   

Worm burdens can also have a significant impact on growth rates of lambs. Information on Sustainable Worm Control in Sheep is available here.

If you require more information regarding a specific sheep disease, please visit the National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS). The Scottish Animal Health Planning System is also available to help with disease forecasting and animal health planning.