Health Program

We firmly believe that as seedstock producers, it is our obligation to our customers to provide sheep whose health is beyond question – no unpleasant surprises!  Our philosophy as direct sellers of retail cuts to the public is the same – we sell the kind of meat we want for our own family.  To this end, we have the following programs in place:

Biosecurity and Isolation
Our farm and pastures are “closed” to outside contact except under tight controls.  Outside vehicles are not allowed to drive on pastures, and visitors are required to wear protective foot covers.

Our stock is not allowed to commingle with other livestock, ovine or otherwise. We do not lease rams. All purchased rams must have at least one “R” at Codon 171 and clear our rigorous health testing program. Our ewe flock is closed.

Purchased breeding stock are washed with antifungal soap, hooves treated in a foot bath, vaccinated, wormed, and then isolated and observed for one month, during which serum tests for OPP, caseous lymphadenitus ('boils' or CL), and Johnes are completed.

In compliance with our SFCP status (see section following), at shows our pens are sanitized with Virkon and fitted with solid divider panels prior to bringing our animals in (to avoid nose-to-nose contact). Animals returning from shows are washed with antifungal soap, hooves treated in a foot bath, and isolated for a minimum of 14 days to minimize any risks of transmitted infection.

We are OPP-negative, free of caseous lymphadenitus, footrot, and club lamb fungus, and intend to remain so.

Ongoing Monitoring
Our flock is enrolled in the USDA Scrapie Flock Certification Program (SFCP), and is in compliance with all terms of this program. Our flock was Certified Scrapie Free under the original SFCP program, and is now Export Certified under the current program, the fourth Suffolk flock in the United States to qualify.

Our flock is OPP-negative, in accordance with the standards of the OPP Concerned Sheep Breeders Association. In 2013, we were the first flock in the United States to screen for OPP using the highly-sensitive Elitest ELISA, which confirmed our OPP-negative status. For more information on Ovine Progressive Pneumonia (known outside the USA as maedi visna), please refer to the OPPCSBA site, www.oppsociety.org.

We spot check for ovine Johnes disease, and have no test-positive animals in the flock.

Vaccinations
All lambs are vaccinated for Clostridium perfringens types C&D, tetanus, and caseous lymphadenitus.  Retained and purchased breeding stock are further vaccinated with Covexin-8 to cover a broader range of pathogens, and given an annual booster dose.

All lambs are vaccinated for soremouth, both Texas and Colorado strains.  Breeding stock are re-vaccinated every three years.

Helminthics
Ewes are wormed post-partum and turned out on drylot prior to going to pasture.  Lambs are wormed at 50 pounds.

Excluding the foregoing, we do not worm on a fixed schedule.  Rather, worming is performed when FAMACHA results, general observations, and fecal floats indicate the need for worming, and then only on an animal-by-animal basis.  Worm resistance is a heritable trait, and we track the frequency of worming in our ewe flock as a selection tool in our breeding program.

We make use of natural dietary anti-helminthics (pumpkins, garlic, etc.) whenever possible, and exclusively for locker lambs as they are prepared for market.

Antibiotics
We treat sheep with antibiotics when medically necessary, and strictly observe required withdrawal times.  We don’t believe in feeding antibiotics to food animals as aids to growth.

General Health
As part of our participation in the USDA Scrapie Flock Certification Program (SFCP), our flock is inspected annually and our records audited by a USDA Veterinarian. Our most recent USDA inspection was February 28, 2015.

Oregon is a selenium-deficient region, and so all animals are fed a good sheep mineral mix ad libitum containing 90 ppm of selenium. All lambs receive two doses of supplemental selenium during their first seven weeks of life. Breeding stock receive an annual selenium booster.

Breeding stock receive an annual vitamin booster.  Breeding ewes receive vitamin boosters pre- and post-partum.

928 NW Camellia Drive • Corvallis, OR 97330 • 541.753.4812 •  ThickSheep@gmail.com  • Club Lamb Page Breeding Sheep Page
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