The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system was used as a basis for describing a methodology for the management of reproduction in small ruminant flocks. The seven principles of the HACCP system are: <ul> 1. Conduct a hazard analysis 2. Identify critical control points 3. Establish critical limits for each control point 4. Establish monitoring procedure 5. Establish corrective actions 6. Establish a record keeping procedure 7. Establish verification procedures. </ul> The first principle of HACCP requires a description of the production system. The small ruminant reproduction process was subdivided into four sub-processes with a total of 33 phases. The ewe management cycle consists of 12 phases and the ram management cycle, replacement ewe cycle and replacement ram cycle each consists of seven phases. The reproductive process was described by a flow diagram. The hazards were categorized as management, environmental, nutritional, genetic, predatory, physiological and disease factors that could affect reproductive performance. The second principle requires the establishment of Critical Control Points (CCP). Seventeen CCPs in the reproductive process were established and monitoring and diagnostic procedures for each of the critical control points was described together with suggested corrective actions. The resulting HACCP plan formed the basis of consultations with 30 commercial small stock enterprises. Each of the Critical Control Points was applied to at least three and up to 30 of the flocks over the period of the trial to establish the practicality and validity of the procedures which were described as standard operating procedures. Data forms were designed for the structured collection of data regarding the process as well as the CCPs. The Critical Control Points and forms that were selected in this project were as follows: <ul> <li> CC1. Ewe selection. Prior to Ewe preparation. Ewe selection data form</li> <li> CC2.Ram selection. Prior to Phase two of ram preparation. Ram selection data form</li> <li> CC3. Ewe preparation. Prior to start of mating (end of flushing period). Ewe preparation data form</li> <li> CC4. Ram preparation. Prior start of mating (end of flushing period). Ram preparation data form</li> <li> CC5. Joining. Start of mating period. Joining data form</li> <li> CC6. Mating. End of mating period. Mating data form</li> <li> CC7. Scan. >35 days after mating. Scan data form</li> <li> CC8. Rescan. ≥ 30 days after initial scanning. Rescan data form</li> <li> CC9. Pregnant. Prior to start of lambing. Pregnancy management data form</li> <li> CC10. Lambing. End of lambing period. Lambing data form</li> <li> CC11. Marking. After neonatal period. Marking data form</li> <li> CC12. Weaning. Separation of lambs from ewes. Weaning data form</li> <li> CC13. Ewe replacement. At ewe selection. Replacement maiden data form</li> <li> CC14. Ram replacement. At ram selection. Replacement ram data form</li> <li> CC15. Genital soundness. Prior to ram selection. Ram genital soundness data form</li> <li> CC16. Ram recovery. About 8 weeks after mating. Ram recovery data form</li> <li> CC17. Last day of lambing. About 146 days after end of joining. Last day of lambing data form.</li> </ul> In addition to the specific procedures described in the seventeen CCP's three CCP's were described that can be performed to assist in monitoring the general health and welfare of the flock at strategic points in the management cycle: <ul> <li> CC 18 Body condition score</li> <li> CC 19 Helminthic status</li> <li> CC 20 Nutritional status.</li> </ul> Qualitative aspects of the critical control point as well as certain quality control questions were described as a generic quality control form. This generic form is modified annually to reflect hazard issues that need to be followed up the following year. Specific questions are entered on the form which is diarised for the next year. The use of these generic forms assisted in the process of continuous improvement by ensuring that adjustments to the Flock Health and Production Plan are made to prevent repeating management failures. Examples of the use of the CCP's are described on the basis of data that was collected from the flocks that participated in the project. Upon conclusion a questionnaire was completed by 12/25 of the flock managers who participated. The results of the survey indicated that there was general acceptance of a HACCP – based management system for the management of reproduction in the small ruminant enterprises by the flock managers that responded to the questionnaire. Flock managers agreed that the program must be adapted to their individual needs, would not be a problem to implement but needed to be simple and many would need assistance. Training and information was considered important aspects. There was general consensus that financial results should form part of the program and that comparisons within the group on an anonymous basis is accepted. The two responses that showed the least variance were the needs to reduce production risk and to be informed of potential hazards. Flock managers disagreed the most in their response about the range of control points they would implement. This correlates with the expressed need to have individually adapted programs. Flock managers were not very positive about the benefits of a quality control and certification system. Predation proved to be the most important hazard followed by parasites and stock theft, all three being highly variable as indicated by a large variance. The HACCP-based methodology should be applied in and extended form to all aspects of the flock production system to assist in improving sustainability. Copyright
Dissertation (MMedVet)--University of Pretoria, 2012.