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1. Which age of sheep are most prone to hypersensitivity scours and why?
2. If mulesing is to be done, ideally who should carry it out?
3. Aside from lice, what else causes sheep to rub?
Hypersensitivity typically occurs in the winter and spring months, in animals that have developed their adult worm immunity, and is most evident in mature ewes or wethers. In south-east Australia scouring occurs in a large proportion of some flocks (30–40%) every year, and may last for 3–4 months. In Mediterranean climatic zones, hypersensitivity scouring usually occurs after the relatively worm-free period of summer and autumn, after sheep are re-exposed to worm larvae. The occurrence between flocks and years varies considerably, and it generally lasts for only 4–6 weeks in a particular flock.
If you plan to continue mulesing in the short term, use an accredited mulesing contractor or undertake training to become an accredited mulesing contractor. Contact the Livestock Contractors Association to find accredited contractors or to enquire about training.
Other causes of rubbing include grass seeds, fleece rot, lumpy wool, flystrike and itch mite. Sheep with tender wool or frequently walking through bush or long grass and some breeds that shed their fleece may also appear to be rubbing. Read the LiceBoss Note: Causes of rubbing in sheep or use the Rubbing Tool in Liceboss to help to diagnose other causes of rubbed fleece.