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New sheep flock tool to help improve vet-farmer engagement
The new Flock Health Checklist will help practitioners assess performance across three crucial time periods.
Checklist will help practitioners assess flock health and productivity.

MSD Animal Health has announced a new checklist-based audit tool designed to help vets in practice connect more actively with sheep producers.

The organisation says that the new Flock Health Checklist will help practitioners assess performance across three crucial time periods and two key management processes impacting the success of sheep enterprises.

Kat Baxter-Smith, a veterinary adviser with MSD Animal Health, said: “We have developed this new performance checklist drawing on specialist sheep vet working experiences, clinical research studies, economic data and industry recommendations.

“For example, the pre-breeding period is a great time to make sure ewes and rams are as fit and healthy as possible. Good practice and preparation in this area will go a long way to minimising stress and problems during a busy lambing period.”

She said that the tool could also help with protocols for late pregnancy and lambing, and will help subsequent lambing seasons run smoothly. 

The checklist incorporates an additional series of audit-based questions designed to pinpoint system strengths and weaknesses during growth, weaning and sale. It also enables a vet to answer a series od questions covering two key management processes: disease management and biosecurity; and how flock performance is currently monitored. 

“Working through a series of 10 questions within each of the three crucial time periods and two key management processes – designed to tease out where a sheep unit is in terms of accepted best management practice – allows vet and farmer to quickly pinpoint any areas needing attention. What’s more, repeating the checklist every six or 12 months is a great way to keep things on track, allowing both parties to monitor performance against agreed targets,” said Dr Baxter-Smith.

“Similar types of checklist have been available to dairy youngstock rearing units and beef suckler herds for a couple of years now, with several vets reporting that these tools have proved integral to their productivity improvement work with farmer clients. Use of this checklist-based approach is also helping better implementation of preventative health practices such as vaccination. We hope this latest tool will help the GB sheep industry similarly.”

Further details about the tool are available from MSD account managers.

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World Bee Day celebrations begin

News Story 1
 Today (20 May) marks the fifth annual World Bee Day, which raises awareness of the importance of bees and pollinators to people and the planet. Observed on the anniversary of pioneering Slovenian beekeeper Anton Jana's birthday, this year's celebration is themed: 'Bee Engaged: Celebrating the diversity of bees and beekeeping systems'.

Organisations and people celebrating the day will raise awareness of the accelerated decline in pollinator diversity, and highlight the importance of sustainable beekeeping systems and a wide variety of bees. Slovenia, the initiator of World Bee Day, will be focusing on teaching young people about the significance of pollinators. 

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Further avian flu cases confirmed

Three cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 have been confirmed in recent days, bringing the total number of cases in England to 98.

On Thursday, the APHA confirmed two cases of HPAI H5N1 near Redgrave, Mid Suffolk and Market Weston, West Suffolk. A case H5N1 was also confirmed in poultry at a premises near Southwell, Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire.

Protection and surveillance zones are in place around the affected premises. Further details are available at