Farmer’s experience of using homoeopathy – as a treatment and an approach to managing livestock health
Tim Downes opened. Commercial dairy herd, 300 cows in Shropshire, OMSCo contract. Began using homeopathy in 1998, first used it to treat ringworm. Exact time to use homeopathy can be a conundrum, good animal husbandry and diet also important. Benefits include – highly responsive, no risk of milk contamination, no plastic waste, cheaper than conventional treatments, no needle disposal. Remedies don’t change. Remedies can be used for dehorning, disbudding, castrating, TB testing, freeze branding, at calving time, for calf rearing and treating mastitis. Homeopathy enables you to treat as soon as you notice symptoms rather than delaying treatment.
Christine Gosling of Berkeley Farm spoke next, dairy farmer (Guernsey cows) in Wiltshire, supplies Abel and Cole. Customers interested in quality and integrity of the milk and farming practices. Using homeopathy can be a good selling point. Homeopathy particularly important due to threat of antibiotic resistance; all farmers have a responsibility to reduce usage. HAWL teaches ‘the big 5’ remedies – for use with mastitis, lameness, calving problems, fertility issues, preventative treatment for respiratory problems and during TB testing. There are situations where vets should treat and where farmers can treat. Books are available, e.g. Repertory which helps match symptoms with photos and identify remedies. HAWL provides extra training days as well as on-farm support days.
John Newman from Abbey Home Farm, Gloucestershire finished the session. Complicated operation – includes dairy and beef cattle, sheep, pigs, chicken. Chose to focus on homeopathy for sheep. Started exploring homeopathy in 1992 and got the entire farm staff involved. Training empowers stock people and gives them confidence to use the treatments based on own observations. Homeopathy used across all categories of stock: remedies, nosodes and preventative measures. Used for sheep particularly when handling stock: e.g. lambing, weaning, foot care, fly control. But it can be difficult, depends on how sheep access water. Spraying flock is a practical solution. Use certain remedies routinely (arnica, aconite, ignatia, hypericum). Less need for interventions with sheep since using homeopathy. Practical tool box for use ‘in the field’ is invaluable. Waterproof, easy to use, accessible.
The discussion that followed the presentations brought out the following points:
- Do a HAWL course! Training gives confidence, as well as knowledge and understanding of the remedies.
- Empower stock people to do what they are naturally good at (observation) and responding to changes.
- Homeopathy can be used alongside conventional treatments, doesn’t have to be an either or choice.
- Record results, both good and bad, to keep improving your practice.
- Be responsible but don’t be scared to try it, there are very few risks.
- HAWL courses should be moved around and organised in places such as N. Yorkshire and Midlands.
- Organise more farmer-to-farmer exchanges, farmers believe other farmers.
- Influence the big players in the sector e.g. AHDB and OMSCo.
- Demonstrate reduction of costs (savings per litre, cost of production, vets bills etc.).
- Document practical examples and evidence of success.
- Bring in the younger generation, target young farmers and agricultural colleges.
Individual speaker presentations and abstracts
Christine Gosling (Berkeley Farm) (No powerpoint presentation)
John Newman with his ‘box of tricks’
Chris and Nick Gosling run an organic 375 acre dairy and arable in Wiltshire. They have used homeopathy for nearly 10 years . With the threat of greater antibiotic resistance in the future farmers will need to turn to alternative medicines to treat their animals . Homeopathy can certainly be used successfully on the farm and Homeopathy at Wellie Level is an excellent course for learning how to use it on your own animals.
Tim Downes (Shropshire dairy farmer) (No powerpoint presentation)
OMSCo dairy farmer of the year. 300 cow herd and finishing beef. Has used homoeopathy for over 16 years. How we have used homoeopathy on the farm and where we see it fitting into our long term strive to remain within the rules for an antibiotic free herd.
John is farm manager at Abbey Home Farm in Gloucestershire. John will be speaking about their use of homeopathy at Abbey Home Farm, particularly focusing on its use with sheep, pigs and poultry. He will also share some of his thoughts and recollections of their use of homeopathy over the last 20+ years, including the ‘evolution’ of HAWL and its relevance to their staff.