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


  1. In this Code the word (which applies to England only) the word sheep refers to all ovine stock, and an animal under six months of age is considered to be a lamb.
  2. The recommendations are relevant to sheep under all husbandry systems. Following them will help to ensure that the welfare of stock is safeguarded.
  3. The number and type of sheep kept and the stocking rate and/or housing density should depend on the suitability of the environment, the capacity of the farm, the competence of the shepherd and the time available to carry out his or her duties. Good stockmanship is of paramount importance in all systems of sheep production.
  4. The relevant animal welfare legislation applies to owners as well as to any person looking after sheep on their behalf, wherever the sheep are located. A written contract can be of value in ensuring that all parties are clear about their responsibilities in respect to welfare. However, the obligations imposed by law will still apply.
  5. If any change in breed or type is contemplated, particularly if farming in difficult, extensive conditions, replacements should only be with a breed or type of sheep that is suitable for the location. For example, on hill farms, sheep should be sufficiently hardy and not prone to suffer as a result of extremes of climate.
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