Blowfly strike is a major problem for sheep. Farmers should be aware of their local weather conditions as it is important to be informed of the changing seasonal patterns. Hot temperatures and wet conditions in recent weeks have provided ideal conditions for the blowflies to thrive.
Blowfly strike is a very serious disease and can have devastating consequences affecting wool clip, leather quality and live weight gain thus increasing time to market. It can severely affect the welfare of the animal and if left untreated can be fatal. Blowflies are attracted to areas of wool which are wet or contaminated with faeces. When a strike occurs blowfly eggs are laid on the skin of the sheep. The eggs hatch within 24 hours then ‘the strike’ occurs they feed off the skin tissue which leads to production losses and welfare problems. Adult females can lay approximately 200 eggs at a time and can do this every couple of days throughout its life. After 3 days the mature larvae drop off the sheep and pupate in the soil. Blowflies are the most common ectoparasites of lamb and studies by Elanco Animal Health has revealed that more than 94% of farmers are have been affected by blowfly strike in recent years.
Prevention is the best form of control as the strike can establish very rapidly. The cost of preventing the strike occurring out ways the financial and time costs that can be devastating if an outbreak were to occur. The choice of protection against blowfly strike will vary depending on meat withdrawal periods and the length of cover.
Signs of blowfly infected sheep are discoloured coat and agitated behaviour. It is the duty of the registered keeper to ensure that blowfly strikes are treated as they have a legal obligation to do so. The implications of a strike can have devastating consequences both financially and time wise as well as having a major effect on the animal. So in order to prevent this you are best to treat your animals to stop the strike occurring.
For more information on preventing Blowfly Strike and the products available contact your local store or rep.