Guide Sheep That Stray

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A well-designed lice biosecurity plan that prevents contact with infested sheep is critical to keeping a property lice-free. Stock-proof fences are essential for good biosecurity.


Sheep lice—biosecurity can prevent introduction , provides guidelines for developing an effective lice biosecurity program. It can be difficult to detect lice in sheep with less than 6 months wool, particularly if they have been treated and there is still the possibility that lice may be present even if they are not found at this time. Contact owner and advise of the occurrence of stray. Where unable to identify owner, take appropriate action. Examples of these policies, which can be adapted to an individual property, are shown on page 4. A good biosecurity plan must assume that introduced sheep are infested with lice regardless of their history or whether there are no lice or signs of lice.

Your decision on how to manage the introduced sheep will be a personal risk management choice. This is based on. There are four management options to keep your flock lice free in the long term. You can use the LiceBoss Treatment Guide to help choose an option to suit your situation. The options are presented below in descending order of biosecurity rigour. Additional notes for the options are further below.

This option may produce high chemical residues in the shorn wool if the sheep had already been treated off-shears or in short wool. This option is rarely cost-effective. See below for situations it may suit and how to assess the cost. Use another option for sheep with longer than 6 weeks wool.

It best suits these situations:. When estimating the cost of fleece damage using the Long Wool Tool you will need to make assumptions about the level of rubbing and when it might appear, both in the introduced sheep if no rubbing is currently evident and in your existing flock which could vary considerably. The extent of rubbing that will appear in your flock, if lice spread to them, will depend on how lousy the introduced sheep are, how many and which of the introduced sheep are exposed to your existing sheep as they will have different levels of infestation and when the contact takes place before the existing sheep are shorn.

You might consider a number of scenarios, such as a worst-case scenario where the level of rubbing is high well in advance of shearing, and also a moderate and a light level of rubbing in your main flock, and estimate how likely these scenarios are. Weigh these up against the costs associated with an early shearing and treatment. If lice become apparent before the next shearing, the introduced sheep and any they they have mixed with may require an interim long wool treatment to suppress lice. Consult the Long Wool Tool to see if this is warranted.

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Different long wool treatments are registered for different lengths of wool and for different times until shearing. Consult the Products Tool or product label to choose a suitable product. Although the risk of lice from the sources in Table 3 is relatively low, these factors should still be considered to help in keeping a property free from lice. Discuss risk with shearers.

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If lousy sheep have been shorn at the previous property request that precautions be taken to avoid spread of lice on clothing or footwear. It makes sheep easier to move or drive and enables a guardian dog to provide protection for a large flock. Domestication and thousands of generations of human contact has further strengthened this trait in sheep. Domestication has also favored the non-aggressive, docile nature of sheep, making it easier for people, especially women and children, to care for sheep.

Sheep were one of the earliest animals to be domesticated, and they have been thoroughly domesticated. It is doubtful they could survive in the wild, if a predator risk existed.

Can a Sheep Stray from the Fold?

Sheep Senses Senses are the tools that animals use to interact with their environment. Sheep and other animals share five basic senses: As a prey animal, sheep must have excellent senses to ensure their survival. Sight Sheep depend heavily upon their vision. Behavior scientists speculate that the placement and structure of the sheep's eyes are due to nature's designation of sheep as a prey animal.

Sheep have a very large pupil that is somewhat rectangular in shape. The eyeball is placed more to the side of the head, which gives sheep a much wider field of vision.

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With only slight head movement, sheep are able to scan their surroundings. Their field of vision ranges from to degrees, depending upon the amount of wool on their face. On the other hand, sheep have poor depth perception three dimensional vision , especially if they are moving with their heads up. This is why they will often stop to examine something more closely. Sheep have difficulty picking out small details, such as an open space created by a partially opened gate.

They tend to avoid shadows and sharp contrasts between light and dark. They are reluctant to go where they can't see. For many years, it was believed that sheep and other livestock could not perceive color. But, it has since been proven that livestock possess the cones necessary for color vision. Research has shown that livestock can differentiate between colors, though their color perception is not equal to humans. Hearing Sheep have excellent hearing. They can amplify and pinpoint sound with their ears.

In fact, sound arrives at each ear at a different time. Sheep are frightened by sudden loud noises, such as yelling or barking.


In response to loud noises and other unnatural sounds, sheep become nervous and more difficult to handle. This is due to the release of stress-related hormones. To minimize stress, the handler should speak in a quiet, calm voice. Sheep should not be worked in the presence of barking dogs. Smell Sheep have an excellent sense of smell. Their olfactory system is more highly developed than humans. Sheep know what predators smell like.

Smell helps rams locate ewes in heat. It helps ewes locate their lambs.

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Sheep use the sense of smell to locate water and detect differences in feed and pasture plants. Sheep are more likely to move into the wind than with the wind, so they can use their sense of smell. Touch Since most of their body is covered with wool or coarse hair, only the sheep's lips and mouth and maybe ears lend themselves well to feeling behavior. This is why electric wires on a fence need to be placed at nose height of the sheep.

Penalties for lousy sheep

The sense of touch is important in the interaction between animals. Lambs seek bodily contact with their mothers. Ewes respond to this touching behavior in many ways e.

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