Maestanyglwyden Project Introduction
Site: Maestanyglwyden, Penybont, Oswestry, SY10 9JG
Technical Officer: Lisa Roberts
Project title: Tackling mastitis in ewes
Introduction to project:
Mastitis is a problem seen on sheep farms, mainly during peak lactation or at weaning. Mastitis affects different farms in varying severity. Some farms see high losses (10-20%) due to mastitis, seen as dead ewes as a result from toxic mastitis, and/or premature culling out of young sheep with affected udders. This, together with slower lamb growth rates due to reduced milk availability and increased treatment costs, makes it a costly problem and an animal welfare issue.
The aim of the project is to understand what factors play a role in causing mastitis within Maestanyglwyden’s flock, whilst employing good hygiene at lambing and exploring the use of a new vaccine to reduce antibiotic usage on farm.
Maestanyglwyden have been undertaking a strict culling policy in previous years, as well as monitoring ewe body condition (BCS) closely to ensure adequate colostrum for lambing. They are working closely with their vet to tackle cases of disease and to ensure the flock is in good health.
Project aims and objectives:
The main aim of the project is to determine which factors are responsible for mastitis incidence at Maestanyglwyden; specifically exploring how BCS and weather (ambient temperature and rainfall) affects the incidence of mastitis. The project will also focus on implementing good hygiene practices throughout the lambing shed, ensure good nutrition, and also boost the immunity of the ewes by vaccinating with a mastitis vaccine (Vimco), with the aim of reducing antibiotic usage on farm.
Key KPI’s set:
- Reduce mastitis incidence by 15%.
- Reduce antibiotics usage by 30%.
- Maintain ewes at body condition score (BCS) 2.5-3.