Best practices: preparing breeding stock (sheep) for a new environment

Asked July 7, 2015, 7:41 PM EDT

For the conscientious breeding stock producer: What are best practices for preparing breeding stock for a new farm environment? Deworming with three classes of dewormers, to prevent transfer of resistant parasites, course of antibiotics for any possible (but undedectied) infection? I remember one presenter saying that those acquiring stock should presume incoming animals are resistant to dewormers, or are bringing in parasites resistant to dewormers. Looking forward to hearing a recommended protocol.

Loudoun County Virginia

1 Response

Hello! I am the agent in Amelia County, so since you are in Loudon, I am going to refer you to several folks in your locality who might better be able to zero in on your particular situation, as it sounds like you are moving or bringing in some animals:
Jim Hilleary is your Loudon agent and I understand that he has held several excellent sheep management programs in your area (just today, I got an email from him announcing that Loudon Valley Sheep Producers Association is having a seminar called "Success with Breeding Sheep" with Dr. Marjory Dunlap, to be held at the Purcelville Train Station from 7:30-9:30 on August 20th. Contact is Betsy Murphy, You can reach Jim at the Loudon Virginia Cooperative Extension office at (703) 777-0373 or

Now, a few more notes: as you may have learned, sheep parasite management can be quite a challenge and we've been hearing about some newer strategies for management including strategic deworming (treating and/or culling the few animals that are carry high parasite loads, as opposed to blanket treating the whole flock). This is something I would recommend working on in conjunction with your vet
and your agent, as the right choice depends heavily upon your situation and your agent may also recommend some prevention/mitigation measures for your operation based on your grazing strategies, housing, etc. However, if you'd like to start looking at this in greater detail, one of our Extension livestock specialists (Dr. Scott Greiner at Virginia Tech) wrote an excellent overview of current parasite management recommendations for sheep and you can read it if you visit page 6 of this publication:
We have another excellent publication from Dr. Dee Whittier on this topic that you will find here:

You may also find our Extension sheep page to be useful-there are sometimes events and seminars listed here as well.
If you go to this page, you will find a list of all of our sheep publications for Virginia: