Nutrition needs and internal parasite control, top feeding and health concerns for the ovine sector

24 February 2021

Nutrition needs and internal parasite control, top feeding and health concerns for the ovine sector

  • EuroSheep, the European network for sheep knowledge exchange, uncovers these priorities in the first transnational workshop held within the project’s framework
  • Over 1,200 livestock farmers, shepherds, technicians, veterinarians, researchers and academics from all over Europe participated in the survey to share the issues they face in terms of sheep feeding and health management
  • NEIKER, a national EuroSheep partner, is spearheading the needs assessment and approval of solutions available to the industry’s professionals


The EuroSheep project, the European network for sheep knowledge exchange, identified nutritional needs, internal parasite control, neonatal disorders in lambs and managing animal well-being as the top flock feed and health concerns of the professionals of the sheep industry in Europe and Turkey.

More than 1,200 people from all over Europe, among them 730 livestock farmers and shepherds, 160 technicians, 110 veterinarians, 100 researchers and academics, used an online survey to share their needs and the issues they face in terms of sheep nutrition and health management.

In all countries, the primary need related to feed was gaining a better understanding of the needs of sheep, lambs and replacement animals. In the specific case of sheep, another notable need is handling grazing and pastures.

In terms of lamb nutrition, the other pressing need identified was establishing growth goals before weaning and, in replacement, the issue is the development goal to have the first birth at around one year old. The most important needs in terms of sheep health and replacement were controlling internal parasites, limps and mastitis.

The top issues in terms of lamb health were neonatal disorders, coccidiosis and sudden lamb death.

Finally, the most in-demand handling needs were flock health plans and well-being management strategies for when the animals are outdoors.

First transnational workshop

These priorities were disclosed at the first transnational EuroSheep workshop, which was held online and attended by over 100 people. The results were presented and validated in each of the national workshops before the transnational workshop.

The goal of this first phase of the project was to identify the shared challenges and needs to reach appropriate standards of health and better nutrition management to optimise flock efficiency as well as identify potential best handling practices. Although the various workshops were online, they provided a great opportunity for industry players to debate and discuss their opinions on the results of the previously-conducted survey.

EuroSheep’s next step will be to identify solutions, recommendations and tricks to respond to the very needs and problems identified by the survey. Each country will attempt to identify the best practices that may help to respond to the other countries’ needs. At the next international workshop, farmers and other participants will have the opportunity to choose the best solutions before they are tested.

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