This morning I was looking at the OAP Soays and decided that if I could I should really get them in an Clik them. Clik is a spray on chemical which helps to protect the sheep from fly-strike. It works by slowing and stopping the development of the eggs that the blow flies lay – before they turn into maggots. This is good, because the maggots will burrow into the sheep’s flesh and start to eat them, and not only is this extremely painful for the sheep, but if there are enough of the little nightmares then they will kill the poor thing. It’s one of the most disgusting things we have ever had to deal with as animal keepers, and having avoided it completely for our first couple of years, we’ve been hit a few times a year since, and have lost two sheep in that time (both of whom were old and/or unwell, probably making them easy targets – but still not the way we’d want them to go).
Since we had our first permanent sheep we’ve tried to ensure we regularly spray them to protect them from fly strike. The first spray we used was Crovect. This is an insecticide which kills the flies, the eggs and the maggots – so is what we use to treat a strike. It’s nasty stuff is Crovect and stings if you get a lot on your skin, it also needs to be sprayed all over the sheep to completely protect them as it doesn’t work it’s way over them. We swapped to Clik a couple of years ago for a few reasons. One is that it’s a bit cheaper than Crovect, it lasts quit e bit longer, 16 weeks against around 6, and it also doesn’t burn when you get it on you. The best thing is that it works it’s way over the whole sheep (it uses soap as it’s base and I think this helps), so all we have to do is spray a line across the back, and then an arc over their rears. The downside of Clik is that it can’t be used to treat a strike, so we keep some Crovect for that, just in case!
We have a channel between our pig areas which is usually lushly grassed as the pigs only occasionally get into it, and the sheep can only get into it if I leave the gate open. After I’d fed the pigs this mornign I opened up the gate for the sheep, thinking to myself that I’d get some food to lead the sheep in and then try and trap them. The rather strangely one of the old OAP rams just wandered in, and soon the whole Soay flock followed. I quickly closed the gate, and they were all ready to be Cliked – brilliant!
When handling sheep the best thing to do is get them into as small an area as possible, so they’re all squished together. We used to think this wasn’t very fair so we’d leave them a load of space, all that happened was they ran around, and in some cases jumped over the hurdles! Here’s the OAPs this morning after I managed to get them cornered with a couple of sheep hurdles:
Usually when I’ve managed to get hold of the sheep I like to check they’re ok. The old Soays all seemed well, though a few of them had scraggly fleeces. I decided to help them, by pulling it off. They don’t like it much, but they look much betetr afterwards, and I can only assume they feel much cooler:
Once I’d done that I sprayed them one by one with Clik, trying my best to get a thinck band down their backs, and then an arc across their bottoms. All finished off with a spot of bright red stock spray, so I know who’s been done. Here you can see them eating some food afterwards: