Type: Chapter

Maintaining sheep flock health: an overview

Author Neil Sargison

University of Edinburgh

Publication date:

31 March 2017

ID: 9781838792671

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Improving the efficiency of livestock production is a fundamental challenge facing humanity, and maintaining the health of livestock is key to ensuring this. Systems for farming small ruminants such as sheep must meet the global need for food security while being economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. Nowadays, sustainable agriculture is threatened by a global reduction in land resources and water and hitherto irresponsible use of drugs and chemicals. This chapter describes efficient small ruminant livestock production, examining its ecological impact and the effects of advances in genetic improvement and other technologies. The chapter describes how managing the health of sheep flocks through health planning, nutritional management and ensuring biodiversity can ensure efficient production, and includes case studies addressing lamb growth rates and controlling parasitic infections. The chapter concludes that effective biosecurity, good nutrition, protection from infectious pathogens and endemic disease management in sheep flocks are essential for global food security.

Table of contents

1 Introduction
2 The global role of farming small ruminants
3 Efficiency of global ruminant livestock production
4 Ecological impact of small ruminants
5 Genetic improvement of sheep and technological advances
6 Improving small ruminant production effi ciency through animal health management
7 Sheep health management
8 Sheep flock health planning
9 Sheep nutritional management
10 Biosecurity of individual sheep flocks
11 Case study: applying principles of sheep fl ock health planning to lamb growth rates
12 Case study: parasitic nematode control in sheep as a globally important health management challenge
13 Summary
14 Where to look for further information
15 References