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Queensland worms, flies and lice update - April 2017

Brisbane: Maxine Murphy, Veterinary Parasitologist (maxine@paraboss.com.au)

Worm control measures this month centre around worm testing mobs to ensure that infections remain at levels that will not cause significant production loss (don’t forget to FAMACHA© any stragglers for anaemia), and to prepare paddocks for spring lambing.

Recent rains would have started the barber’s pole worm cycle, but it will be a slow, consistent build-up: the low minimum temperatures, dropping in some areas to below 18°C (the magical temperature below which barber’s pole eggs supposedly don’t hatch) will continue to slow the cycle.  

Any individual sheep that are showing signs of worms should be drenched and then the remainder of the mob worm tested in case they are also wormy. At this time of the year black scour could also be present, albeit in low numbers, and nodule worm may be hiding in older sheep. In any sheep that are killed for rations, look for signs of nodules in the wall of the large intestine.

Drenching any wormy mobs will result in a reduction of eggs and potentially infective larvae on paddocks, this being especially important for any paddock earmarked for lambing in spring.  Mobs can be grazed on the lambing paddock for a period after the protection period of the drench has finished. For a short-acting drench without any extended period of protection, this period of safe grazing will be 21 days.

Every time you drench consider Worm testing 10–20 sheep at drenching and sample (ideally) the same 10­–20 sheep 14 days later for another WormTest. If the post drench counts are zero, then drench worked.  

Texas: Noel O’Dempsey, Sheep Veterinary Consultant (odempseyn@gmail.com)

Over the last two weeks I have been catching up on the sheep work and returning sheep to their correct paddocks after opening gates because of the dry over summer.  The sheep were looking good and were full of run. When they were in the yards, I sampled all mobs for worm egg counting—which I do on-farm. The five mobs of ewes and lambs had egg counts of 400 eggs per gram (epg) to 450 epg, the wethers and hoggets less than 50 epg. The ewes and their lambs that were being weaned were drenched, the wethers and hoggets were not. Much better to have target drenched those mobs with high worm egg counts than to have made an ‘all or none’  decision, and it was a real relief not to have to drench a yard full of wethers.

Many people have learned to do their own worm egg counting. Why not you?