Caring for my new sheep

A couple of Welsh Mountain wethers

A couple of Welsh Mountain wethers - Credit: Archant

I’m soon going to be getting three wethers for fleece production as I’m keen on handspinning and other fibrecrafts. These will be the only sheep on our holding, and obviously won’t be bred from. They’ll be pets as much as anything else. Given that they’re non-breeding animals, I’m just wondering what sort of vaccinations and medication that might need on a routine basis, if anything. The three are different breeds, so will be coming from different places.

Tim Tyne says: Assuming that your land hasn’t had any other sheep on it recently, the main thing is to make sure you don’t introduce any health issues when you bring these ones onto your holding. The fact that they’re coming from different sources obviously increases the risk. They should be ‘quarantine dosed’ on arrival, which consists of giving two different wormer products sequentially, and then keeping the sheep housed or yarded for 24 - 48 hours. You should also take this opportunity to trim and spray their hooves, and to treat for external parasites (scab, lice and ticks) as well. If you use an injectable product as part of your quarantine dosing strategy then that may also treat scab. You should also give a primary course of vaccination against clostridial diseases. This consists of two injections, given 4 - 6 weeks apart.

Having done all that they should remain healthy and trouble-free for years. All they’ll need is an annual clostridial booster, occasional foot care, and possibly a dose against liver fluke from time to time.

* For anyone not familiar with the terminology, a wether is a castrated male sheep. They tend to produce heavier and better quality fleeces than breeding ewes.