Are the words ‘drench flock’ on your calendar at this time of year? If so, it’s time to step back and consider a few points.
Worm burdens will vary between different classes of livestock, so maybe it’s worth establishing what really needs drenching.
In doing so you may save yourself time and money and reduce the chance of drench resistance establishing in your flock.
Worm testing by worm faecal egg counts (FEC) is the smart way to monitor the presence of worms and will determine the requirement to treat or not to treat. FEC is a useful tool of management in all types of livestock.
FEC is the process of determining the number of eggs in faeces and is a fast, effective and relatively inexpensive test.
The test involves the collection of faeces either directly from the rectum of the animal, or by mustering a number of animals into a clean corner of a paddock for about 10 minutes and then collecting fresh faecal samples from the ground.
Different mobs may have different FECs so it’s worth having a number of mobs tested. This particularly applies to your weaners and maiden animals, which have a naturally lower worm resistance and will probably need drenching while the rest of your flock may not.
If and when you do drench be sure to give the correct dose and use an effective drench. The easiest way to calculate the correct dose is to weigh three of the larger sheep in the mob, work out the average weight, and drench to that weight.
FECs can also provide information of how effective treatment has been, thus providing information about possible drench resistance.
■For further information visit wormboss.com.au or contact your local veterinarian or DEDJTR veterinary or animal health officer, or in NSW your Local Land Services office.
—Dr Jeff Cave, district
veterinary officer, DEDJTR