Disease Prevention When Buying in Stock

Moredun-logoSummary written by Chris Lewis MRCVS

Taken from Moredun Foundation Newsheet Volume 3 No. 13 (2001)



  • cleaning-trailerThe introduction of purchased sheep either into an existing flock or to re-stock a property slaughtered out because of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) 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.
  • FMD movement regulations have highlighted the need to control the spread of disease by vehicles and operators. It is vital that a high degree of cleansing and disinfection is maintained to reduce commoner diseases of sheep being introduced to new flocks. Avoid sharing transport and mixing stock from different sources. It is always preferable to move stock in your own transport wherever possible.
  • After newly purchased sheep have been transported to the home farm, try to isolate them 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.
  • To ensure that the health of a flock is maintained it is essential that a Flock Health plan is established and written down. A written Flock Health Plan is of course also a requirement of the Welfare Code and Sheep Annual Premium Scheme (SAPS)



sheep cover2 smMore information on disease prevention can be found on the DVD 'Managing Your Flock for Peak Health' - programme 2 in the series 'Sheep on Your Smallholding'.







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