Sheep handling: Care is the key when opting for dipping
Essential to ensure the dip or pour-on product treats the targeted parasites
Dipping sheep remains a crucial role in the control of Ecto-parasites on many Irish farms.
All sheep dips, whether they contain organophosphates or a synthetic pyrethroid, must be treated with respect and handled appropriately to ensure the user, the animal or the environment are not damaged in any way through their usage.
While it is not the function of this article to advise on the health and safety procedures required at dipping time, it is essential that each operator reads, understands and implements the health and safety recommendations for each product available on the market. Minimum requirements include a face visor, arm length gloves, wellington boots and a dipping apron.
There are a number of products available for sheep dipping, but I don't intend to go into the details of any individual product.
What is important, regardless of the product, is that you follow the manufacturer's guidelines closely to ensure the best response to the product and the maximum return on your investment.
Organophosphate (OP) dips were the traditional category of products used for dipping sheep, but their usage has declined due to their potential health impacts on farmers. Dipping can be stressful on the sheep as well and precautions to protect the animal need to be taken.
Sheep should not be dipped when full, wet, tired or thirsty, or when they have open wounds.
Sheep should be dipped after two to three hours' rest and early on a dry day. Lambs should be dipped separately from ewes to minimise the risk of lambs suffocating or drowning.