Lamb morbidity in three housed flocks in south-west England during two lambing seasons-farmer versus veterinary monitoring

L. E. Green*, E. Berriatua, K. L. Morgan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


A 2 year investigation into diseases of early-born, housed lambs was carried out from 1989 to 1991. The mortality, morbidity and sub-clinical disease of housed lambs from three flocks were studied. This paper describes the collection and analysis of morbidity data. Morbidity was assessed using two techniques. In the first year, a cohort of approximately 80 lambs per flock was observed at regular (7 or 14 day) intervals from birth to slaughter at 10-26 weeks of age. Each lamb was examined using a routine clinical examination carried out by two out of three members of a trained team of veterinarians. The technique used was thought to be objective and accurate. However, because there was a small proportion (10-12%) of lambs examined there was a lack of information on severely sick lambs and only diseases of prevalence greater than 3.5% had a 95% probability of being identified. This led to a change im the method of data collection in the second year when the whole flock of lambs was observed by farmers and lambs which they considered sick were presented for treatment. Seventeen clinical entities were detected in the first year; these were primarily mild conditions. In lambs from Cohorts A, B and C, the mortality rates were 11.8%, 10.5% and 1.3%, respectively. In the second year, 16 diseases were observed. Lambs presented by the farmers were overtly sick; 15.3% from Flock A and 29.2% from Flock B died. There were no sick lambs presented by Farmer C. In the second year, sick lambs were observed but the objectivity of the study was considered to have decreased from the first year. Evidence of this came from the inter-observer bias between farmers. There was a significant difference in the proportion of sick lambs presented by Farmers A and B but there was no significant difference in the proportion of lambs which subsequently died (1.6% and 1.8 %) of lambs born in Cohorts A and B, respectively) and which had been presented for treatment, suggesting that Farmer A selected less severely sick lambs than Farmer B.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-240
Number of pages8
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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