Insect control for sheep and goats | Living the Country Life

Insect control for sheep and goats

Insects and parasites that bother sheep will often attack goats as well. Keep your animals healthy and treat them as soon as you notice any signs of an insect presence.

Radio interview source: Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

Listen here to the radio story (mp3) or read below

Sheep and goats are susceptible to being pestered by many of the same insects. Lice, sheep keds, nose bots, and wool maggots are among the most common. There are products to treat your animals, but good nutrition and on-going sanitation will also help keep insect numbers down.
Lee Townsend is an extension entomologist at the University of Kentucky, and says the insects are spread by direct contact from animal-to-animal.  
"Typically things like lice and keds, the numbers of them are up during the colder months of the year from fall, during the winter, into early spring," he says. "Particularly if animals are under stress or their resistance is lower, then they tend to have greater problems with these insects."
Signs of an insect problem on your animals include scratching, rubbing on fences, and scabs. If you detect the problem early and make the right diagnoses, there are several effective methods for treatment. 
"Generally there are products that can be applied as sprays, as drenches, as dust. It depends on the number of animals you have, the kind of facilities you have for handling them," says Townsend. "Probably the biggest thing particularly with lice and keds is follow-up treatments to make sure that you get stages of the insect that weren't susceptible to treatment when the first application went on."
Townsend says you can prevent a lot of animal insect problems with good nutrition, sanitation, and manure management. Healthy animals are able to better withstand stresses.
He says you should consider any new sheep or goats brought into the herd to be infested. Keep them separate and do a preventive treatment regime with them before introducing them to the other animals.  


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