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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
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Sheep Update

Livestock Update, October 1999

Scott Greiner, Extension Animal Scientist, Sheep, Virginia Tech

Control of Foot Rot
With the spring and summer drought experienced in the Mid-Atlantic region this year, sheep producers have likely experienced fewer problems with foot rot. However, the recently received moisture will create an opportunity for the foot rot organisms to manifest and create clinical signs of the disease. Prevention of the disease is enhanced by routine foot trimming and foot soak. New sheep that are being brought into the flock (including new rams), should be isolated prior to introduction. When an outbreak occurs, eradication of foot rot is best accomplished through intense treatment. Waiting until a large percentage of the flock is infected will increase the challenge of effectively eliminating the disease. A combination of intense foot trimming and footbaths are the cheapest form of treatment. If foot rot has been diagnosed, all sheep in the flock should be treated. When trimming feet, all affected tissue should be trimmed away to reduce the areas in the hoof where the bacteria thrive. After trimming, sheep should be allowed to stand in a footbath for a minimum of 30 minutes. The most common footbath solution is zinc sulfate (10% solution = 16 pounds in 20 gallons of water). To aid in getting the zinc sulfate into solution, warm water may be used. A footbath may be constructed out of a sheet of plywood and 2x6 inch boards to form the sides. Seal the seams with caulking. If possible, sheep that do not show signs of foot rot should be moved to clean pastures after treatment. Infected sheep should be isolated and kept in a dry-lot for continued treatment every 3-5 days. Foot rot vaccines have also shown to be effective in treatment when used with other control measures. For more information, see Pub. No. 410-028: Control, Treatment, and Elimination of Foot Rot from Sheep.

1999 Virginia Performance Ram Lamb Sale Results
The 24th Annual Virginia Performance Tested Ram Lamb Sale was held at the Virginia Sheep Evaluation Station near Steeles Tavern on Saturday, August 28. A total of 36 rams sold for an average price of $338. Top-selling ram was a Suffolk consigned by Sponaugle Suffolks of Grottoes, Va., and sold to Arch Painter of Rileyville, Va., for $675. The high-selling Dorset consigned by Wilson's Dorsets of Rural Retreat, Va., sold to Lynn Regan of Stuart, Va., for $425. Simmons Hampshires of Staunton, Va., consigned the top selling Hampshire, which went to Blue Spruce Farm of Dayton, Va., for $425. Rams sold to buyers in Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia. Sale results by breed were as follows:

Sale Average
13 Dorsets$302
15 Suffolks$386
8 Hampshires$309
36 Total Rams$338

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