Sheep (England): Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock (PB5162)

Housing: General


Schedule 1, paragraph 4 of the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000 (S.I. 2000 No. 1870) states that where any animals (other than poultry) are kept in a building:

  • they shall be kept on, or have access at all times to, a lying area which either has well-maintained dry bedding or is well-drained.

Schedule 1, paragraph 6 states that:

  • where necessary, sick or injured animals shall be isolated in suitable accommodation with, where appropriate, dry comfortable bedding.

Schedule 1, paragraph 9 of the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000 (S.I. 2000 No. 1870) states:

  • The freedom of movement of animals, having regard for their species and in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge shall not be restricted in such a way as to cause them unnecessary suffering or injury.

Schedule 1, paragraph 10 states that, where animals are continuously or regularly tethered or confined:

  • they shall be given the space appropriate to their physiological and ethological needs in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge.
  1. Winter housing of sheep can improve welfare, but problems of both disease and welfare can arise when large numbers are kept together. Advice should be sought on the design, construction or modification of buildings. Adequate ventilation without draughts is of particular importance, as also is the provision of sufficient trough space and lying area.
  2. The greater the restriction imposed on a sheep through housing systems, the less the animal is able to use its instinctive behaviour to minimise the effects of any imposed, unfavourable conditions. Housed sheep require continuing conscientious attention by staff well-trained in the nutritional and environmental needs of the sheep.
  3. When changes are made to sheep husbandry systems which involve installing more complex or elaborate equipment than had previously been used, consideration should be given to the welfare of the animals and the need for the training of the shepherd.
  4. Dry; clean, comfortable conditions under foot should be provided to minimise footrot and hygiene problems. Regular provision of fresh bedding is particularly important at lambing time.
  5. When first housed, sheep should be both dry and free from footrot. Sheep affected by footrot should be segregated and treated immediately in order to prevent it from becoming a flock problem. 
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