Sheep and Goat Biosecurity


GoatsThe greatest disease threat to a sheep or goat is from another sheep or goat, whether through direct contact or via surfaces, equipment or people contaminated by diseased animals. This threat is at its peak if they are brought together into housing for lambing or kidding.

Vaccination of breeding stock is important, particularly against the clostridial diseases. For lambing or kidding, colostrum is a key issue. Lambs and kids often do not receive enough colostrum from the dam. This leaves them susceptible to disease. These animals will shed enormous amounts of pathogens into the environment to challenge other progeny.

Medication can be used once animals are seen to be sick; but cannot offer complete protection against the wide range of disease organisms that threaten both progeny and dams. Biosecurity is the answer - excluding disease organisms from the animals' environment. This is the only way to break the cycle of disease by using disinfectants with proven protection.

Hygiene at Lambing - Safeguarding Health & Profits

SheepSheep and goats are never more vulnerable than at lambing or kidding. There is often a high mortality at this time, particularly of the progeny. While some of these deaths are inevitable, many can be avoided.

Good husbandry is the key to success, and good hygiene is an integral part of good husbandry. This must start pre-lambing or kidding, to prepare the dams, and their environment, so that the progeny have the best and safest possible start in life.

Because lambs and kids are born with no natural immunity to disease, their only immediate protection will be through the colostrum taken from the dam immediately after birth. To pass on protection the dam must have antibodies to the life threatening diseases in her own blood stream, so it is essential that they are vaccinated in good time before birth, to ensure the progeny's protection.

It is also important to ensure that, particularly in the last third of pregnancy, good quality nutrition is available to the dam, including additional mineral supplements if required.

Preparing the environment for the birthing dam is the next vital step. The housing used must be dry, well ventilated and draught-free. Disinfection of the birthing area must be regarded as of prime, and continuing, importance.

Remove any bedding or material from the previous year. Straw bales can be useful here, since these can be taken out and burned at the end of session destroying any lingering infection.

The empty pens, both floors and walls, should be pressure washed with Quat-Gard diluted at 1:500. It is vital that the birthing area is absolutely clean so immediately prior to the arrival of the dams treat the house with a broad spectrum disinfectant, use Farm-Gard diluted at 1:100, allowing it to dry before moving the dams in.

Plan the housing so that sick dams and progeny can be kept apart from the healthy stock, to avoid the dangers of infection. Bought-in dams should also be kept apart and birthed separately to avoid cross-infection.

The stockman’s hygiene is also of importance. Infection can be spread from animal to animal if hygiene procedures are not scrupulously observed. When examining dams or progeny, hands should be thoroughly cleaned before and afterwards, using bactericidal hand soap

Clean boots and overalls should be worn, and sick animals tended last, to prevent carrying infection to healthy animals.

Some diseases, for example salmonellae infections, are transmissible to man, and can be extremely serious. Attention to detail in hygiene matters is all important - a particular threat to guard against is the possibility of infection when dealing with scouring progeny.

The newborn is a prey to a host of infections because of its lack of natural immunity, so it is vital that it receives adequate colostrum within the first few hours of birth. During the time the dams have been housed prior to birthing, a bacterial build-up will have occurred. It is essential that this is controlled, or the progeny will succumb to diseases such as watery mouth, joint and navel ill, dysentery, salmonellae and E. coli infections.

Disinfection while birthing is going on is not easy, however, a broad spectrum virucidal bactericide such as Viru-Gardis safe to use as a spray to disinfect the building without removing the animals. It can be used several times daily during birthing. Also muck out pens frequently, and replenish with plentiful fresh bedding - this will keep the progeny clean, warm and dry. Ensure the bedding material is not damp, dusty or mouldy.

Viru-Gard can also be used to keep birthing equipment clean and disinfected. Do not overlook disinfecting water troughs and bowls regularly, as well as teats and milk dispensers.

Progeny losses are not wholly unavoidable. By following a sensible and rigorous hygiene and husbandry program, the farmer can minimise his losses, and maximise his profit potential.

Indoor Lambing And Kidding Disease Control

Kid SucklesVaccinate Dams against the clostridial diseases in good time to ensure protection of the progeny. Use other vaccines only after veterinary recommendation or based upon the previous years' experience. Ensure good quality nutrition of the dams in last third of pregnancy, including attention to any extra mineral supplements that may be required.

The housing must be dry, well ventilated and draught-free. Remove any bedding or material from the previous year and pressure wash floors and walls with Farm Care Quat-Gard at a dilution of 1:500. Disinfect house with Farm Care Farm-Gard at a dilution of 1:200 just prior to introduction of the dams, allowing time to dry. Provide plenty of clean bedding to keep the progeny clean, dry and warm making sure that the bedding is neither dusty nor mouldy.

All progeny must receive adequate colostrum within 12 hours of birth. It is absolutely vital that the massive bacterial build-up which begins as soon as the dams come indoors is controlled in order to prevent Watery Mouth, Scours and Navel and Joint Ill. This can be easily achieved by using Farm Care Viru-Gard at a dilution of 1:200 as a fine spray or mist several times daily — while the dams and progeny are still in the building. Keep all equipment clean; use Farm Care Viru-Gard at a dilution of 1:100 to clean and disinfect utensils. Make sure your hands are cleaned properly between births – use a germicidal soap.

Vehicle Biosecurity Programs


The importance of biosecurity for all vehicles cannot be stressed enough. This applies especially to livestock and feed vehicles, but also to any others visiting a farm. Livestock haulage and other vehicles, such as feed lorries, provide an excellent vector through which disease can spread.

Cleaning and disinfection must be carried out to minimise the possibility of transmission of disease. FarmCareGB's Transport Biosecurity program provides farmers and hauliers with step-by-step procedures to follow, which if adhered to can help reduce disease transmission via transportation of livestock:

Vehicle Disinfection Summary

In addition to livestock haulage vehicles all vehicles visiting the farm must follow this summary to reduce the potential for transmission of disease.

  • Only essential vehicles may enter the farm.
  • All vehicles visiting the farm should be kept outside the biosecurity perimeter if at all possible.
  • Vehicles should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected using the Vehicle Biosecurity Program prior to arrival at the farm.
  • Wheels, tyres and wheel arches should be cleaned and disinfected upon arrival at the farm using wheel dips or sprays where provided.
  • Personnel should use footdips, protective clothing and observe Hand Hygiene requirements prior to entry to livestock premises

Vehicle Cleansing and Disinfection Procedures

Before undertaking the following biosecurity program please ensure that the person carrying out the procedure is wearing clean and disinfected protective clothing. Protective face visor and rubber gauntlets must be worn during the disinfection stage of this procedure.

Stage 1 - Dry Cleaning - Removing Organic Soiling

It is essential to remove all gross organic soiling from the vehicle as dung and refuse contain high levels of contamination and are a major source of infection. Using brushes, shovels, forks or a mechanical scraper ensure the following area's are covered:

Inside the Transporter

  • Starting at the top and working down, first scrape out all soiled bedding and refuse, then brush the floors, sidewalls and division gates of the trailer ensuring that any organic material is removed from feed and water delivery pipes.
  • Ensure that any gross organic material is removed from the tail lift/ramp and gates of the truck by scraping and brushing.

Outside the Transporter

  • Particular attention must be paid to the removal of organic material from the underside of the vehicle where deposits can build up. Using a stiff hand brush (or pressure washer where necessary), ensure that any deposits of mud, straw etc are removed from the wheels, wheel arches, tyres, mudguards and exposed chassis of the vehicle.
  • All soiled bedding and refuse should be disposed of in accordance with Local Authority or Governmental guidelines.

Stage 2 - Cleaning and Sanitizing

Following the removal of the soiled bedding and refuse, high levels of infective material will still remain. Cleaning with Quat-Gard at a dilution of 1:500 for spraying or 1:250 for foaming will ensure that greasy deposits do not remain on any surfaces.

Apply with either a knapsack sprayer or pressure washer using the appropriate application rate (500ml/sq.m for normal application 250ml/sq.m for foam application). If using a pressure washer, ensure that it is set on a low pressure setting (approx. 500 psi, 35 bar) using a 45º angle jet.

  • Using the brush attachment for the pressure washer, start at the top and work down each side of the cab and trailer working the Quat-Gard solution into the surfaces and any orifices.
  • Using the lance attachment at low pressure apply Quat-Gard  solution to the wheels, wheel arches, tyres, mudguards and underside of the vehicle.
  • Inside the trailer, starting at the top and working down to the bottom, ensure that the ceiling, sides, divisions and floors are all treated thoroughly.
  • Attention must be paid to the loading ramp and tail lift and gates.
  • Ensure that all equipment stored in the belly box of the vehicle such as shovel, brush, etc are removed and washed then apply Quat-Gard  solution to the inside of the belly box.
  • Allow at least 10 minutes for the detergent to penetrate and loosen the dirt from all surfaces before rinsing at high pressure.

It is essential to have removed all organic material before proceeding to the disinfection stage.

Stage 3 - Disinfection

The level of disease organisms, particularly viruses, present after cleaning and sanitizing is still high enough to offer a serious disease challenge. The use of a broad spectrum disinfectant such as Viru-Gard, active against viruses, bacteria, yeasts, moulds and other pathogenic organisms must be used to complete this effective disease control program.

Using a solution of Viru-Gard at a dilution of 1:100 (1kg in each 100 litres) and rate of 300 ml/sq.m at low pressure:

  • Outside of vehicle, start at the top and work down each side.
  • Ensure that special attention is paid to the wheel arches, tyres, mudguards and underside of the vehicle.
  • Inside the vehicle, starting at the top and working down, ensure that ceiling, sides, divisions and floors are disinfected thoroughly.
  • Attention must be paid to the loading ramp and tail gate lift.
  • Ensure that all washed equipment from the belly box of the vehicle such as shovel, brush, etc is sprayed or soaked in Viru-Gard.
  • Disinfect all internal surfaces of the belly box before returning disinfected equipment.

In very rare instances, Viru-Gardmay affect untreated metals, inferior or damaged galvanised metals. In these cases we recommend rinsing these areas with clean water after disinfection ensuring a contact time of at least 5 minutes.

Stage 4 - Cleansing & Disinfecting the Cab

  • Remove all removable items from the cab of the vehicle including the floor mats; clothing, Wellington boots etc, and then using a dustpan and brush remove any debris from within the cab and dispose of it into a refuse sack. Ensure that the foot pedals are free from any organic material.
  • Using a soft hand brush and a bucket of Quat-Gard solution at a dilution rate of 1:500 clean the cab floor, floor mats and foot pedals allowing at least 10 minutes for the detergent to penetrate and loosen the dirt before rinsing.
  • Using a clean cloth soaked in a solution of Viru-Gard at a dilution rate of 1:100 disinfect the cab floor, floor mats and foot pedals.
  • Ensure that all item packed back into the cab are clean.


  • Park the vehicle on a slope to drain and dry.
  • Once the vehicle is removed from the wash area, wash down the concrete surface with Quat-Gard solution making sure no muck or debris remains.
  • Wash and disinfect waterproof overalls and boots.

For environmental awareness take care to avoid any solutions entering surface water drains or water courses.