A top pedigree Texel and Poll Dorset breeder says a slow-release trace element bolus offers a convenient and effective way of providing his flock with a six-month supply of trace elements, including zinc for protecting foot health.

Alwyn Phillips’ Penygelli flock, at Penygelli Farm, near Caernarfon, Wales, has been performance-recorded for over 30 years and, last year, one of his Texel rams was ranked as the number one ram in the country in the RamCompare project.

With the closed flock of around 500 breeding ewes having a high health status, ensuring that their trace element needs are fully met plays an important role in well-being and performance.

Covered for 6 months

Ewes are bolused twice a year with AllGuard – pre-tupping and a month before lambing. The Poll Dorsets are given AllGuard Ewe 5 in 1 containing cobalt, copper, iodine, selenium and zinc, whilst the Texels receive AllGuard Ewe 4 in 1, which doesn’t contain copper.

There are multiple reasons why Phillips uses this bolus system.

He had previously used trace element drenches but treatment needed repeating frequently throughout the season, which wasn’t good for the sheep or for labour resources, he says.

Since he switched to Mayo Healthcare AllGuard he knows ewes are covered for six months, receiving a high supply of cobalt, selenium, iodine and copper daily.

“We can forget about that part of the management,’’ said Phillips.

There are also benefits to foot health. “We really like the fact that the Mayo Healthcare AllGuard bolus contains zinc; it’s very important for hoof health,’’ he stated.

He runs his flock on a rotational grazing system, lambing the Poll Dorsets from January 1 and the Texels in April, in line with the grass-growth curve.

His policy of not buying in stock gives him full control of the health status of the MV accredited flock – his only interventions are bolusing and vaccinating ewes for clostridial diseases.

Lambs are bolused with the AllGuard Lamb 4 in 1 bolus containing cobalt, iodine, selenium and zinc at around 20kg.

“We put the bolus in and they fly along,’’ Phillips concluded.

Further information

For more information on AllGuard, go to: www.mayohealthcare.ie.