As a sheep farmer, you may be worried about getting rid of lice in sheep. Sheep have thick wool, making it challenging to identify and remove lice on their skin. Below is a blog discussing how to detect and treat lice in your sheep.
How To Detect Lice In Sheep
The obvious effect of lice in sheep is irritation. A sheep with a lice infestation will rub itself against surfaces. In some cases, the sheep could bite its skin to get rid of the lice. As the sheep rubs or bites its body, it damages its wool. Therefore, a sheep with lice infestation will have a rugged fleece. Checking for lice is a straightforward procedure. Simply inspect the sheep's skin in a well-lit area. Assess as many parts as you can to establish the extent of the infestation. Lice spread quite fast among sheep. Therefore, if several sheep have lice, it would be wise to assume that the whole flock is infested.
Lice Treatment In Sheep
You could consider the following interventions to eradicate lice in your flock of sheep. They include:
If your sheep do not have any lice, biosecurity is the easiest way to prevent an infestation. Typically, you should ensure your sheep do not come into contact with other flocks. If it is impossible to avoid this, ask other owners to treat their sheep. This way, you are sure that your flock will not get lice from other sheep.
If you intend to bring new sheep to your flock; you should quarantine them before treating them for lice. Likewise, if you think that some of your sheep have lice, quarantine them immediately before the lice spread to the whole flock.
Dipping is probably the most common chemical treatment for sheep. A wide range of chemicals can be used, including pyrethroids, benzoylphenyl urea, magnesium fluorosilicate, or organophosphates. You have to take several precautions when dipping sheep. First, you should avoid dipping sheep with sheering cuts or injuries on their bodies. Moreover, you could avoid feeding the sheep the previous night to prevent fecal contamination during the dip. Finally, the dip should be long enough to ensure the chemical seeps into the wool and skin.
Backline chemicals are an alternative for farmers who do not have a dipping facility. A concentrated chemical dose is applied to the sheep's back. Over time, it diffuses into other parts of the sheep's body. As a rule, you should read the chemical instructions to establish the recommended dose per animal.
For more information about lice treatment for sheep, contact a local professional.