External parasite/fly treatment
Sheep can suffer with external parasites, such as lice, mites, ticks and keds. But as with internal parasites, healthy animals don’t get heavy parasite infestations. They may get the odd tick, they may one year have some lice present in a wet winter but if they are healthy number will be minimal and lice for example will move on once the weather warms up. Animals housed indoors with say goats or horses may be more at risk. Sheep that have passed through markets and sales risk picking up mites (scab) for example and longwool sheep breeds are succeptable to lice for example due to wool staying damp and not drying well. Dipping sheep in not common place anymore, especially for people with a small number of sheep, and personally I’m not a fan of it at all. Most people now use a pour on spray or spot on, like ‘Crovect’, ‘Clik’ or ‘Spot On’, which gets sprayed or dabbed on their backs a few weeks after shearing, this kills off any external parasites and helps prevent fly strike. Ivermec Super also treats most external parasites but is not effective against lice in sheep as they are chewing as opposed to sucking lice. These treatments are easily purchases from agricultural suppliers and online. We do not routinely treat our sheep in this way and haven’t done so for years. These products are strong chemicals and pesticides and are also corrosive. We wouldn’t dream of putting it on our own skin and in that respect I wouldn’t put it on my sheep unless there was a serious problem with external parasites. Our patchwork sheep here are naturally very resistant to parasites, they are made up of hardy primitive breeds, they have good fleeces and are healthy, living all year outside, as such we feel its not necessary and have stopped using pour on’s, on them. We feed them a great varied diet, letting them strip the bark of fallen trees and branches, such as willow and letting wild herbs and other plants grow in the pastures, there are many plants and tree barks that have great anti parasite properties, and make for healthier sheep. Personally I would advise you not to use ready sprays and pour on’s unless you notice your sheep actually have a problem with parasites such as a heavy louse infestation or defiantly in the case of mites (scab, a notifiable disease) only then you would need to treat them, and if in doubt as to what you are dealing with, consult your vet. The routine parasite treatment in the pet industry has got insane the past few years, with people being told to treat their pets every few weeks to prevent them getting parasites. Sure you need to worm your dog or cat if he has worms or treat him if he has fleas, but do you need to subject their bodies to it so often? Do you know who really benefits most from all that advise, the companies who sell the products, Frontline spot on doesn’t even work against fleas anymore, why? Because it has been over used and under dosed by millions of people on their pets and now the fleas are resistant to it.