Controlling Blowfly Strike in Sheep

Fly blown sheep are one of the worst aspects of sheep farming.  Due to the rain, we have had so far this season there has already been autumn flystrike seen in sheep with longer wool, and we are of course likely to see more flystrike with the arrival of warm and humid conditions following winter rainfall in spring.  Blowflies are attracted by the smell and moist conditions of soiled wool, normally around the tail or breech area of sheep where dags, urine and faeces stains and scouring also attract them.  Flies lay eggs in the damp wool, which develop into maggots that feed on the flesh of the sheep.  The maggots also poison their innocent host through the secretion of ammonia.


Flystrike Treatment

Flystrike treatment involves clipping the affected region to expose all of the affected area, both the struck portion and where the discharge stain has spread but leaving a short covering of fleece.  We stock a range of powered and manual shears to achieve this, including the Purple Handypiece Pro.  These shears are an excellent portable battery powered option that enable you to quickly clip affected sheep anywhere you find them.  If you are working by yourself, we also stock sheep cuffs to enable you to hold the sheep securely while you retrieve supplies.  The clipped area can then be dressed in a chemical for the treatment of flystrike (like the aptly named Extinosad Eliminator) which kills all remaining maggots.  The sheep is then released to recover.  The sheep should normally regain an appetite and an eagerness to join the mob again quickly if the flystrike is not too advanced.


Flystrike Prevention

The incidence of flystrike can be reduced in several ways, including:

  • Regular shearing or crutching of sheep to remove long wool around the breech area of the sheep.  The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development recommends less than four months wool during the fly risk “peak seasons” of spring and autumn.
  • Preventative chemicals can be sprayed on the rear of the sheep to prevent flystrike during the risk window.  We stock Clik Spray On that gives protection for up to 24 weeks and Coopers Blowfly and Lice that gives protection for up to 3 months and also treats lice.  Some of the above products have associated meat and wool withholding periods, we are happy to advise which products will best meet your specific requirements.
  • Worm management (including drenching where necessary) to prevent scouring.  We stock a range of drenches.

If you have any questions about Controlling Blowfly Strike in Sheep, please give us a call on 9651 1312 or drop in to our Moora or Yerecoin store. We are an independent local family-owned Western Australia rural store, and we love sharing our knowledge and experience with our customers.

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