Country Smallholding - - Feature Health -

We asked a few other small­hold­ers for their views/ tips on health plan­ning

Trina Gow­ing, Netta Goats, Nor­folk

‘Hav­ing a health plan de­vised with the aid of your vet means that not only are you all singing from the same hymn sheet, the vet is also aware of your cur­rent po­si­tion and your fu­ture am­bi­tions. Our first farm walk/herd plan was de­vised when our herd num­bered 14. How­ever, the plan is de­signed to get us into good prac­tise ready for planned ex­pan­sion. The health plan will, of course, evolve but the ba­sics are there. We think that’s the key to good stock­man­ship. Keep it sim­ple. Pete has a fab tongue-in- cheek say­ing: ‘ The best stock­men are lazy; they plan on get­ting it right first time.’

Avril Wooster North­lew Boer Goats, Devon

Avril’s health plan is crit­i­cal to her herd be­cause, in or­der to im­prove the range of blood lines, she sources stock from abroad and so has to have ex­port sta­tus. This means run­ning a high health sta­tus herd and so op­er­at­ing un­der such schemes as CAE ac­cred­i­ta­tion a well as reg­u­larly test­ing for Scrapes and CLA. In ad­di­tion, with a barn full of scores of nurs­ing nan­nies and their kids, she reg­u­larly runs FECs. In her words: ‘Even in goats that look healthy, they can be har­bour­ing more than we think.’

Jac­que­line Pate­man-Jones Poole Bat­ten Farm, Devon

‘Farm­ing healthy and happy pigs and goats on a 30 acre farm, with the an­i­mals liv­ing out all year, in­volves care­ful plan­ning and field ro­ta­tion. ‘From en­sur­ing suf­fi­cient graz­ing and brows­ing, to man­age­ment of soil and par­a­site bur­den, are all im­por­tant to the farm’s suc­cess and the health plan plays a key part. ‘One great les­son learned from our vet is to use a field ro­ta­tion sys­tem for the goats, pro­vid­ing a rested field for each new ‘batch’ of kids. This en­sures the worm bur­den is min­imised, and even elim­i­nated in some cases and the young and more sus­cep­ti­ble stock are not faced with a worm bur­dened field. As pigs and goats do not share the same par­a­sites it is also pos­si­ble to re­use fields be­tween the species.’

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