The following measures have been identified by AssureWel as being important to assess for sheep. The criteria to select these 'core' measures included consideration as to how practical they are to assess on-farm.

  1. Lameness
  2. Body Condition Score (Thin sheep)
  3. Dirtiness
  4. Fleece loss
  5. Sheep needing further care
  6. Castration, tail docking and ear notching
  7. Mortality

Download the AssureWel assessment protocol and scoresheet.

How to use the outcome assessment: The protocol can be used to assess the level of welfare achieved for an individual animal, farming system or farm assurance scheme.

  • Producers - regular self-assessment of your flock can help monitor welfare and provide early indicators to identify problems. For more information and support on self-assessment see our Advisory Support pages or contact AssureWel
  • Farm assurance schemes, producer groups and vets - formal assessment together with feedback and benchmarking can help to improve scheme assessment, farm management and general levels of sheep welfare. For more information and support contact AssureWel

Which systems can be assessed? The measures have been developed for all sheep systems.

How long does it take? The sample assessment of lameness takes around 10 - 15 minutes depending on group size. Otherwise flock measures can be fitted into a normal flock inspection with minimal additional time added.

How many sheep are assessed? Some measures require an assessment of the whole flock or collecting information from management records. For lameness a sample group of individual animals needs to be assessed. Assessing a larger number of sheep across multiple groups will increase the confidence of the sample and be more representative of the whole flock. Regular self-assessment of lameness is recommended for the whole flock.

Who can carry out an assessment? Anyone with relevant livestock experience can use the protocol. Training is required to ensure reliable and accurate results. Training is available through AssureWel, to find out more contact us.

How does the AssureWel assessment work with the other welfare assessment being completed on my flock? The AssureWel team has consulted with industry and worked in conjunction with other assurance schemes to determine core measures that are assessed in a standardised way across industry. Therefore the AssureWel assessment will complement any other assessments being completed.

How to improve performance:

  • Use the measures to monitor change.
  • Refer to our Advisory Support pages for guidance materials on good practice and improving performance on particular outcome measures.
  • Support and training for producer groups, field staff, vets and companies is also available through AssureWel, to find out more contact us.


Sheep in field


Making improvements



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