Problems and some solutions in the collection of data when investigating diseases of lambs in early lambing (housed) flocks

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The problems encountered and some solutions found when collecting data for a survey of morbidity, mortality and finishing quality of early-born lambs are presented. Major problems included farm selection, farmer compliance, number of farms, accurate identification and detection of lambs, collection of morbidity data and handling of data prior to analysis. Farms were ascertained from a list of those contracted to provide lambs to a large abattoir in Devon. Farmer compliance was assisted by selecting farms where farmers appeared to be genuinely interested in the research. It was maintained by personal contact during farm visits and by holding meetings where preliminary results were presented. The number of farms used in the study (three) was decided upon from a combination of the number of suitable farms and the frequency and duration of each farm visit. Three designs of ear tag were used to identify lambs. The RD2000 was considered the most succesful in this project. Morbidity data were collected using two techniques; in the first year a randomly selected cohort of lambs in each flock was given a clinical examination every 7 or 14 days from birth to slaughter. In the second year lambs which farmers considered sick were presented for treatment. The former approach provided detailed information on approximately 12% of lambs in each flock and led primarily to the observation of sub-clinical diseases. There were five out of 72 (6.9%), six out of 73 (8.2%) and one out of 80 (1.3%) deaths postpartum in Cohorts A, B and C. The latter approach was less objective but monitored acute, severe disease; 15% (Flock A) and 29% (Flock B) of sick lambs died. A data capture device was used to record observations. It reduced the time required to load data onto microcomputer but was unreliable and was abandoned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-285
Number of pages11
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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