Relaxed Ltd: celebrating smallholding
Relaxed Ltd: celebrating smallholding
Relaxed Ltd: celebrating smallholding
Relaxed Ltd: celebrating smallholding
Relaxed Ltd: celebrating smallholding uk
Relaxed Ltd: celebrating smallholding uk
Keeping Livestock: Medical/Husbandry kit
Jack Smellie
Celebrating Smallholding

The smallholder experience
By the very nature of being smallholders, the experience of illness, disease, injury etc is often, and thankfully, very low. Many smallholders will go through their smallholder lives and only experience a fraction of the health issues that 'farmers' get to see year in year out. Therefore, they shouldn’t feel bad when, after 15 years as a smallholder, they come across a health issue they have no idea about. Equally, they shouldn’t assume 15 years experience means they can deal with it without help!
The smallholder health plan
In an ideal world all smallholders will have a livestock/herd health plan in place that they have agreed with their vet and which includes use of antibiotics and pain relief, worming and vaccination protocols and general procedures for dealing with common and any known local health issues. These health plans are specific to the stock on each individual holding and are about being ‘proactive’ in preventing problems rather than ‘reactive’ when they occur. This pro-active approach should essentially focus on good biosecurity, hygiene, nutrition and reducing stress.
Three types of medication
There are basically three main types of medication you can use on your livestock:
  1. ‘POM-V’ medicines: prescription only medicines, which can only be prescribed by a veterinary surgeon, includes antibiotics
  2. POM-VPS medicines: these can be bought from your animal pharmacy (which includes online ones) by 'livestock keepers' and are authorised by a vet, pharmacist or Suitably Qualified Person. They include medicines such as wormers, vaccinations, fly control etc. In theory you need to say at the very least, what animal you are purchasing such medications for.
  3. Then there are the ‘off-the-shelf’ medications such as foot sprays, tonics, supplements etc which you can basically buy with no questions asked.
A note about antibiotics
Antibiotics will be prescribed for ‘your’ animals and should only ever be used for those animals as per your vet's guidance. Antibiotic resistance is as big an issue in agriculture as it is in the human world (and there is a massive overlap) and vets are getting more and more strict about what they will and won’t prescribe.
Antibiotics should not be used for any other animal(s) than for those prescribed for. Equally they should not be used unless a ‘diagnosis’ has been made.
A generic livestock medical/husbandry kit
  1. Vital signs/health check list for all your animals - view suggestions here
  2. Telephone number of your vets, including emergency line
  3. Thermometers
  4. (POM-V) Broad spectrum antibiotic: e.g. Pen and Strep or Alamycin, prescribed by your vet as appropriate for the types of illnesses that may occur on your smallholding
  5. (POM-V) Pain relief: Metacam or similar for use when animal is in pain, has a temperature or any kind of inflammation
  6. (POM-V) Wound/bacterial spray (blue spray): e.g. Cyclo or Terramycin (containing Chlortetracycline HCL) for use on wounds and/or to treat scald/ foot rot
  7. (POM-VPS) Wormers: there are three main types for ruminants and best practice is to have all three in order to avoid resistance building up on your holding, only to be used if needed (after a faecal egg count) and as advised by your vet
  8. (POM-VPS) Fly/lice/mite treatment and prevention: variety of sorts, to prevent external parasites living on your animals and to treat effects, e.g. fly strike, bites etc. Some fly/lice/mite medications are POM-V only
  9. Wound/bacterial spray (purple spray): antibacterial for minor wounds and cuts
  10. Foot spray: antibacterial for use after foot trimming
  11. Pro-rumen (or similar, e.g. baking soda): powdered medication containing minerals and probiotics for ruminants whose rumen needs a bit of a 'kick start'
  12. Electrolytes or similar: to give an energy boost to lethargic animals
  13. Needles (get advice from vet/farm pharmacist) about gauges; and syringes - get a variety from 1ml up to 50ml
  14. Drenching tool, for giving wormers
  15. Sterile gloves, bandages, vet wrap, cotton wool
  16. Antiseptic/bacterial cleaning agent for both humans and livestock skin, e.g. saline solutions, iodine (also useful for spraying on new-born navels)
  17. Scalpels, scissors, feet trimmers
  18. Activated charcoal (for poisonings); some kind of 'salve' for rashes, sprains etc; poultice
  19. Lubricant
  20. Apple cider vinegar/garlic: useful for immune boosters, including poultry

Also see suggested list of items to include in a lambing/ kidding box
Some useful links!!! Responsible use of antibiotics
Noah: Antibiotics for animals
British Vet Association: Antimicrobials
RUMA: Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture
Royal College Veterinary Surgeons: Medicines
  1. All medication on your smallholding must be stored under lock and key
  2. Needles and syringes must not be stored with the medications
  3. You must keep a medicine book for your stock and record all instances of any medications given (Gov.UK guidance).
  4. All used needles and syringes must be disposed of via an authorised source and NOT put in your household rubbish, Sharpes bins can be bought for the needles and your vets or a recognised company such as a 'fallen stock' company should be able to take and incinerate your used medication bottles etc
  5. Any medicines that need to be kept refrigerated must be kept in a dedicated fridge (NOT in your kitchen)
  6. You must take note of all withdrawal periods of any medications used (meat, milk and eggs) and not allow animals or their products to enter the food chain unless those withdrawal periods have been observed

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