Buying a sheep without health hazards

Firstly, one should avoid buying small batches of animals from different origins. Quarantine is always recommended when introducing new animals. It may not prevent all risks, but it can prevent the introduction of diseases such as scabies or footrot.

Indeed, scabies carriers can appear perfectly healthy on arrival if they are still in the incubation phase. To counteract this risk, some administer a suitable antiparasitic as soon as the animal arrives. The risk of introducing footrot on the farm makes it necessary to check the feet as soon as the animals arrive in order to avoid buying affected or doubtful animals.

Even if it is impossible to manage all risks, especially those related to abortive diseases such as Border Disease, Visna-Maedi or Johne’s disease, it is important to know the health status of the seller’s herd.

The mixture of animals from several origins in a new environment can also favour the accelerated emergence of diseases such as ecthyma, scabs on the feet, caseous abscesses (CLA), keratitis. These episodes are more painful when pregnant ewes are included due to the increased risk of abortions.

When buying ewe lambs or rams, it is recommended to buy animals with health guarantees and to give preference to animals qualified by the selection centres.