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Preventing Blowfly and Flystrike in Sheep

Preventing Blowfly and Flystrike in Sheep

Loz Dorey |

Blowflies pose a significant parasitic threat to sheep, with many flocks in the UK affected each year. Commonly associated with the greenbottle fly, these pests are drawn to sheep by odours such as urine, faeces, and sweat trapped in the heavy fleece. This leads to flies laying batches of eggs on the fleece that hatch within 12 hours, causing rapid infestation, known as flystrike or blowfly strike.

Once hatched, the fly larvae feed on living tissue under soiled fleece, leading to secondary infections and potential fatality if not addressed early. Areas of the loins, shoulders, neck, back, throat, bottom, and abdomen can be affected. Symptoms include shaking, stamping, gnawing, and rubbing, along with discoloured and matted wool with a distinctive smell.

Flystrike typically occurs between April and October, with extended seasons in lowland areas from March to December due to milder temperatures. Prevention is key to keeping flies at bay. Regular dagging or crutching of soiled fleece starting from early April and repeated every four to six weeks, along with topical treatments, can mitigate flystrike risk. Our range of sheep shears provides various options for small or large flocks, including multi-head options for clipping other animals like cattle and horses.

LIGHTWEIGHT HANDPIECE FOR SHEARING SMALL FLOCKS

The Masterclip Ewe 2000 is an air cooled 200w mains powered sheep shearing machine. This lightweight shearer with a permanent magnetic motor is suitable for all year-round dagging and shearing. The Ewe 2000 is ideal for small flocks and is available with a multi-head for clipping cattle or horses. 

Above: The Ewe 2000 shears used by Jillian Scott Clipper Queen

CORDLESS HANDPEICES FOR SHEARING AND DAGGING

The Masterclip Outback shears is a heavy-duty cordless handpiece capable of shearing and dagging small or large flocks. With a traditional style shearing head, these shears can be used with both dagging and shearing blades. A superb choice if you need a handy, powerful, cable free clipper that is compatible with your existing shears and traditional dagging and shearing blades. With 2 rechargeable batteries, this clipper gives up to 1 hour shearing time per battery. Another great pair of shears to have handy when inspecting sheep out at pasture and dag in situ.  

The HD Roamer is an air-cooled cordless shearing machine that is ideal for light shearing and crutching for a small number of sheep. It comes with a set of premium A2 livestock blades for shearing and dagging sheep, llamas or alpacas, 100ml of clipper oil and is presented in a sturdy carry case. The HD Roamer is Ideal for having to hand for quick dagging jobs. This clipper is compatible with a wide selection of A2 clipper blades for clipping cattle and horses so would be ideal choice for small holder with a range of animals to clip.

Above: The cordless HD Roamer shearing alpacas with @CBS Equine Services

CRUTCHING ACCESSORIES

When cleaning up a few sheep, start with the cleanest ones to preserve clipper blade sharpness. It's wise to save the dirtier jobs for last. Alongside clipper oil, keeping Andis 5-in-1 blade care spray on hand is recommended. Not only does it lubricate and clean blades, but its disinfectant properties also maintain hygiene between animals. Carrying spare blades for shearing and dagging is essential for swift replacement if a blade dulls mid-shear. For mains powered shears, always use with an RCD for safety. Additionally, extra batteries for cordless clippers like the Outback and HD Roamer can be easily obtained from Masterclip.

If you need any assistance to find the best shears for your flock, we offer free advice. Simply call us on 0116 2796900 or drop us an email at info@masterclip.co.uk

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