Dan Fawcett BVM&S MRCVS

Welcome to Dan Fawcett Consulting Ltd on texelBreeders.com which is a preview of what is available on our own site sheepbreeding.co.uk. We are a full time specialist sheep breeding company and offer a full range of advanced breeding services including a semen directory.

For more information or to book our services call on 01768 890935 or email


Vets corner - LAMENESS

When to trim is probably the biggest 'new' issue with lameness in sheep.

Scald: Predominantly a disease of the skin between the toes, no under-running or extension into the horn of the foot.

Treatment: Do not trim, just treat with footbath or spray. The scald bug is present all the time and tends to flare up if the conditions are right. Often high proportion of group affected "over night". I use hibiscrub diluted 50:50 with surgical spirit in a hand sprayer - cheaper than spray cans and highly effective, although some commercial sprays are coming out now that spray better and last longer (Animedazon ® - Forte Healthcare). Dry standing time is important, the alcohol in preparations such as Terramycin® facilitar-tes quick drying. Surgical spirit is basically alcohol.

Foot Rot: Often starts as scald but quickly progresses to the horn and can cause extensive under-running. Highly contageous and should be treated as such.

Treatment: Do not trim, seperate affected animals. Foot bath both groups. Trim affected group after a few days and carry on bathing intermittently until treatment successful. Penicillin at 30mg/kg (high dose) followed by dry standing for 24 hours is very effective in more severe cases. I prefer straight penicillin (depocillin® Intervet) than pen-strep, it is easier to inject and you don't need the "strep" part.

Oxytetracycline (Terramycin®) also very effective as an injectable solution. Only bring groups back together once treatment successful. There is a very successful commercial vaccine available, Footvax®, initial course 1ml 4-6 weeks apart then a booster prior to high risk periods. Unsightly lumps are common and not always popular with pedigree breeders ! One breeder suggested injecting on the inside of the back leg, I suppose as long as it is sub-cutaneous there won't be a problem and at least it will be out of sight !

Remember footrot bug only survives in soil / grass for 4 days. So treat and move.

Standard bath: Formalin 40% formaldehyde diluted to 1:20 = overall 2% solution. Copper sulphate and Zinc sulphate are 1kg per 10 litres of water.

Contageous Ovine Digital Dermatitis: Predominantly affests the skin of the coronary band and is highly contagious. Often made worse by conventional foot bathing.

Treatment: Do not trim immediately, as with footrot. When you do bath, use Tylan® soluble (1g/Litre) or Lincomycin for 20 minutes. Dry standing after bathing particularly important here to allow treatment to dry on. Can use weedkiller type sprays in a small number of sheep. These products are also effective against scald and footrot but are quite expensive. Routine foot trimming - do not do it ie only trim badly overgrown feet or lame animals AFTER an initial course of treatment to avoid spread.


Semen Collection and Freezing:

This can be done by obtaining a sample using an artificial vagina and teaser ewe. The semen is frozen down and can keep for 10,000 years!

Benefits of semen freezing:

  • Fully comprehensive insurance policy (at a fraction of the price)

  • Increases ram power further

  • Ideal ‘back-up’ in case the tup becomes ill or cannot work at tupping/AI time

Fertility assessment:

This can be done in rams by collecting semen naturally with an AV and teaser ewe (or occasionally with an electroejaculator) and looking at it under a microscope.

Benefits of fertility assessment:

  • Avoid selling someone an infertile ram

  • Avoid problems due to an infertile ram

    Artificial Insemination:

    Generally this is fixed-time i.e. the flock is synchronised, using sponges and PMSG. The whole programme takes 14 days. Conception rates with fresh semen average 75%, frozen semen 65% although there is seasonal and breed variation.

    Benefits of AI:

    • Increased ram power

    • More rapid genetic gain

    • Access to desired genetics

    • Extremely tight lambing

    • Easier management

    • Improved fertility assessment


      Reduced disease risk

      Embryo Flushing and Transfer

    The ewes are synchronised in a similar manner to AI and then super-ovulated so that they produce a lot more eggs when they come into season. These eggs are then fertilised using AI and the resulting embryos are taken at about 6 days old. The whole programme takes about 20 days.

    Any healthy ewe can be used as a recipient or surrogate mother. Depending on breed and seasonal variation one can expect an average of 6-10 embryos per flush.

    The benefits of ET are:

    • Extremely rapid genetic gain in your flock

    • Generates quality low-cost replacement females

    • Obtain lambs from ewes otherwise unable to produce progeny or carry lambs themselves


      Reduces disease risk

      Working together with your own vet

      All the drugs are available from your own vet who will also receive a copy of the programme. Understanding Your Programme 

      Semen stored at other centres

    If you require semen which is stored elsewhere then we can easily arrange for shipment and help you through the whole procedure.

    We can and do carry out sire reference schemework and always provide an official insemination certificate acceptable by all the official breed societies.

    If you are planning any artificial breeding work, don’t forget to plan well ahead. Even if you still don’t have a tup, book your AI date (we may be able to suggest some frozen semen).