It is something most fairs and festivals don’t like to emphasize. Unfortunately, exposure of your flock to diseases and parasites is a risk you take whenever your animals leave your ranch. Rather than ignore the situation, the Big Sky Fiber Festival would prefer that everyone who brings animals to our festival be conscious of the risks and take simple precautions.

Most diseases are transferred from one animal to the next through some form of contact. Nose to nose, human to animal or from buckets and bedding. Please use common sense! Don’t bring any animal to the festival if you even suspect that it may have a communicable disease. Our barn stewards are experienced hands who will not hesitate to turn away any animal which appears to be in poor health. This is not meant to discourage anyone from bringing animals to the festival. Few flocks are 100% healthy. There is no excuse, however, for exposing other animals to pinkeye, foot rot or severe pest infestations.

We will do our part. To every extent possible, each owner’s animals will be kept in adjacent pens. We will also try to separate flocks by the space of an empty stall, but we encourage anyone who is concerned about the health of their animals to bring a solid barrier (tarp, plywood, etc.) to prevent your animals from playing “nosey” with strangers. Goats will be separated from the sheep.

But none of this will have any effect if your don’t do your part as well. Don’t allow your animals to “socialize” with others on the way to and from their stalls. Bring your own equipment. Don’t borrow from someone else. Wash your hands and any items that come in contact with someone else’s animals. Use disinfectant or waterless handcleaner. Awareness, coupled with a modicum of common sense, is the single best protection for your animals.

All animals arriving from out of state shall be accompanied by an import permit and a veterinary inspections certificate obtained from your local accredited veterinarian within 30 days of the event, certifying that they are disease free. Import permits can be obtained by the veterinarian issuing the inspection certificate by calling the Dept. of Livestock, Animal Health Division, Helena, MT 59604 406-444-2976 There are additional import requirements for rams and goats:

Rams over 6 mos old: Must have a negative Elisa Test for Brucella Ovis within 30 days of entry or originate from an official Brucella Ovis free flock and be individually examined and free of REO (Epididymitis).

Goats: All sexually intact animals 6 months of age and over, one negative Brucella Abortus Test within 30 days of entry.

Please see http://liv.mt.gov/AH/import/import_intro.asp for complete import requirements for goats and sheep coming into Montana.