Wednesday 12 July 2017

"Fly strike" and "dagging" ........ it's the peak of the season for blow flies in sheep

John Alec cleaning up the ewes
Here in the W. Highlands heat and humidity peak in mid July, some sheep have dirty wool contaminated by dung and urine. Conditions are perfect for fly strike. Blow flies lay their eggs in dirty humid wool, soon the maggots emerge and burrow into the sheep's flesh. It's a painful and distressing condition for the sheep.Fly strike in Scotland

"Pour on" systemic insecticides are a routine preventative treatment but despite this in July there always seem to be one or two cases of infection that have to be identified quickly. This week we had one.

Each day when out on the hill "looking" the ewes and lambs this i one of the things that the shepherd is looking for. Infected sheep tend to wag their tails continuously, rub up against the fence or even bite at their wool.

Yesterday we had to bring in six ewes with dirty backsides for "dagging" to remove the wool around the rear end as this attracts the flies. There was only one infected sheep with just a small patch of maggots that was quickly dealt with and treated. Soon the ewes will be clipped and the threat will be over for them. The lambs however still have their wool and are at risk up until November.
Mid-July warm and humid....... the blowfly season

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