Keeping your stock blowfly free
Monday, 01 November 2010
Not all pests on a farm are four legged, hiding in trees, scurrying through barns or destroying veggie gardens.
Very simply put, blowflies lay eggs on the skin of animals and when the maggots hatch they eat into the flesh of the host animal.
| Little fly upon the wall - ain't you got no friends at all?! Photo supplied. |
It is a horrible thing to see.
Sheep are particularly susceptible because wool, especially the dirty, daggy wool around a sheep’s rump, attracts blowflies.
That said it’s not unheard of for blowflies to strike wet dirty areas on domestic animals such as dogs, pet rabbits and even cats, especially if they are weak or have dirty matted hair.
Be sure to keep a close eye on your stock – and pets – for eggs and small sores that could contain maggots.
Sores can generally be found under dags, in shearing cuts or if the animal is suffering from footrot - on feet.
An animal that seems restless, is trying to nibble at its rear or stamping and flicking its hide should be checked.
If there are sores on the skin, the maggots will need to be removed with meths.
If you think it’s a horrible job, think of the animal you are treating and what it must be going through.
Your vet will be able to recommend a flystrike powder to treat the sores with once the maggots have been removed.
It is really important to treat the sores when they are still small; if you leave them until they are too deep you may have no choice but to destroy the animal.
During warm, damp times check animals, especially sheep, daily and use a repellent on the surrounding area to keep the flies away as much as possible.
Keep your sheep as clean as possible – without running them through a shower on a daily basis.
Remove dags and if needs be call the shearer in and get sheep shorn.
Treat any cuts or sores immediately and keep a close eye on them until healed.
It’s also important to remove any dead animals from paddocks – including dead possums or rabbits as blowflies love these.
Blowflies breed in dead carcases as well as on live flesh, so it is very important that all dead animals on the farm are buried or incinerated. This includes wild animal and bird carcasses too.
Flytraps can help control blowflies and monitor risk.
Insecticide can be applied by dipping or pour-on methods; the latter is especially practical when you have a small number of stock.
If you have any doubts at all – call your vet and ask for help, sooner rather than later.