Avoid Stock Illness, and Learn Animal Health Basics!

Published 24th June 2022. Written by Maddison O’Brien

After two good seasons with abundant rainfall in the region, we have been reminded of how devastating things like foot rot, parasites, and mastitis can be. With stock prices at an all-time high, the health of our animals is a top priority. Animal owners on all scales must understand the most common afflictions our livestock can suffer and have informed strategies to minimise illness and unnecessary losses.

Watershed Landcare will be collaborating with Local Land Services district veterinarian Jess Bourke to deliver a Healthy Livestock Basics workshop and Q&A on 28th July 2022. The evening will aim to educate cattle, sheep and other ruminant owners about the symptoms of animal illness, early detection methods and prevention strategies. Jess will also detail common parasites such as the Barber pole worm or Haemonchus contortus.

The Barber’s pole worm thrives in warm, wet and humid conditions. Barber’s pole worms are voracious blood-feeders and suck blood from the stomach lining, causing anaemia. Affected sheep will have pale gums and conjunctiva (inside the eyelid). They may also develop bottle jaws or appear lethargic. These incredibly tough parasites can lie dormant, surviving up to six months on pasture over winter and around three to four months over a mild summer. By understanding how these parasites thrive and the stages of their life cycle, we can adapt our management methods to help prevent the spread of the killer worms that have struck in epidemic proportions this season!

Suppose landholders can work with local vets to connect existing animal health, the parasite or disease and the environmental interactions. In that case, they can start formulating strategies that work in their specific circumstances. Taking this preventative approach and a more holistic view can save yourself the time, money and stress of having a sick animal.

Have you lost any stock this year? Could it have been avoided? Even if you’re an experienced farmer, here is an excellent opportunity to get a refresher on the foundational knowledge that will help you keep your animals healthy.

So come along on the 28th July 2022 at 5:30 pm in Mudgee, the talk will go for about an hour with time afterwards for questions and discussion over some light supper. Whether you have just a few sheep or whole paddocks of cattle, this will be a casual and informative session tailored to your needs; get your questions answered and network with others in the community. Bookings are essential; go to watershedlandcare.com.au/events.