Worm Control in Sheep

Control of parasitic worms in sheep is vital to productivity. It is a massive topic, and so this article will be only a short introduction.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss any aspect of worm control in sheep.

So much more than wormers

There is more to worm control than use of wormers, and the increasing prevalence of wormer-resistant worms has renewed focus on these other aspects. They include:

  • Ewe nutrition- good ewe nutrition in late pregnancy reduces worm burdens.
  • Good lamb growth rates – get lambs off farm before worm burdens reach disease-causing levels.
  • Grazing management – reduce lamb exposure to worms through movements, sward heights, alternating grazing with different species, using aftermaths and new leys etc.
  • Use of bioactive forages - certain plants, for example chicory, contain compounds which suppress worms.
  • Genetic improvement – sheep vary in their resistance and resilience to worm infection, so it is possible to gradually breed a flock which is less susceptible to parasitic worms.

Wormer resistance

Do you know which wormers work on your farm?
Contact the practice to find out about performing a FECRT to work out how effective each wormer class is on your farm.

Do you know how to prevent wormer resistance developing on your farm?
Take a look at the SCOPS website to find out: www.scops.org.uk


Nematodirus battus: the weather dependent worm

N.battus can cause very severe disease in young lambs grazing pasture which had young lambs on it last year. Its hatching is very weather dependent, so keep an eye on the Nematodirus forecast (http://www.scops.org.uk/forecasts/nematodirus-forecast/). For more information on the treatment and control of Nematodirus battus, please ring the practice.


Haemonchus contortus

Unlike other worm species, this worm can commonly cause disease in adult ewes. It does not cause scour, but instead sucks the animal’s blood leading to anaemia. It was responsible for the deaths of ewes and lambs in several outbreaks in the practice area last summer.

To find out more come to our meeting on 30th May (details below)

Haemonchosis – Dealing with Barber’s Pole Worm

Last year we had several outbreaks of haemonchosis in the practice area from June-September, with losses of lambs and adult sheep.
Unlike other parasitic worms of sheep, Haemonchus contortus, the barber’s pole worm, does not cause scour, but sucks blood, leading to anaemia, weight loss, collapse and death. The female H.contortus produces thousands of eggs a day, so numbers can build up rapidly when conditions favour the worm.

Come along to our on-farm meeting to learn more about this increasingly common threat to sheep (and goats) and enjoy a hands-on practical session to learn how to use FAMACHA scoring to help protect your livestock.

All attendees will receive a FAMACHA chart to take home.

Wednesday 30th May
2.00 pm
Rushall Farm, Scratchface Lane, Bradfield, RG7 6DL
(By kind permission of Mr S Waters)

Please contact the office on 01491 651479, to book your place.
(£20 per person, 50% discount for FHC members).