The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has launched a new course for sheep farmers, shepherds, and smallholders to help them build knowledge and skills to protect and increase their flock productivity and improve the health of their sheep.
Rearing sheep is a highly complex process with risks at purchase, breeding, lambing and rearing lambs. For example, a recent survey found that 18% of breeding rams had foot issues, 8% had soft testes and 50% were not at the target body condition – all of which can affect the reproductive performance of the flock.
Similarly, fewer than 5% of farmers routinely screen for so-called iceberg diseases, but the percentage of flocks infected with one of these, Johne’s disease, has been estimated as high as 64%2.
To support the healthy and productive rearing of sheep and to better prevent disease, the RVC has launched a new ‘Flockmaster’ course. The course is designed for both commercial and small-scale sheep farmers, shepherds and smallholders with the aim of sharing and expanding their knowledge and improving their practices.
Throughout the course, participants will have the opportunity to improve their practical skills and knowledge relating to the whole sheep production cycle. This includes selecting animals for purchase and breeding, tupping, pregnancy and lambing, to optimising lamb survival, growth rates and production.
Starting in July 2022, participants can take part in four sessions to build their knowledge.
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