Today was my Scrapie Flock Certification Program (SFCP) inspection with a state veterinarian representative. I’m through my first of five years in the program that will achieve my “complete and monitored” status.

In some sense, I wouldn’t need to do the “voluntary” scrapie program since my rams are genetically “RR.” I could just keep purchasing more “RR” rams and know that I never had scrapie in my raised flock. But, I chose to do it so that my breeding stock would be marketable to others in the SFCP, who otherwise couldn’t purchase from me.

It turns out that it’s not much trouble. I already keep good records and tag all my animals, so I just dump out an Excel spreadsheet of my “inventory” and notes on anything  that happened with sheep which are no longer here (died, sold, slaughtered etc). That gets emailed to the state vet, and once a year, they come out to verify the animals on the list, their ear tag compliance, and that they all show no signs of scrapie. Easy enough.

That’s if everything goes well. If I have an adult sheep that dies, then I have to contact the state vet office and we decide together if it sounds suspicious that the sheep might have had scrapie. If it does, then I’d need to ship the head to some lab in another state that tests for scrapie (and that’s paid for). If the sheep did have scrapie, then they’d want to DNA the whole flock, and slaughter and test any “QQ” sheep (for which they pay “indemnity”). But soon enough, I won’t have any QQ sheep left (even if I have a few now) since I’m only using RR rams; so I’m not too concerned about that ever happening. I believe that the DNA tests I’ve already done would stand in place of the state’s procedures, since I’m using an approved lab, so that would make things even simpler.

The inspection is easy, if you are set-up well to sort sheep. Before the inspector came, I moved all the sheep into the alley, and tied up the guardian dog (who otherwise barks constantly at visitors and makes conversation impossible). When the inspector arrived, I had Maggie hold the sheep in the corner of the alley. I caught each sheep, we checked the tag, the inspector opened the man gate, and I shoved the sheep through. So, it only took us a few minutes to go through all the sheep. Then she filled out a short report and left me a copy, and we were done. So, that task is checked off the list for another year!