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What are some natural treatments for sheep lice that work?  RSS feed

 
pioneer
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I'm looking for ideas for natural treatments I can try for lice on my sheep.  They are freshly shorn, so it should be easy to apply something topical.  I would love to avoid harsh chemicals that parasites can build up a resistance to if possible.

this link suggests tea tree oil.  What other options are there?  Will Diatomaceous earth work?
 
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Diatomaceous earth should work, though it may take a bit of time.
 
raven ranson
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Thinking more about DE and tea tree oil - if the infestation occurs when the sheep have a  lot of wool, how does one get the treatment into the area where the lice are?
 
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I had an adult dog come to us with lice. The first thing I tried was a diluted tea tree oil spray, but that only aggravated the whole area. Her skin became red and angry looking. So I used DE which worked beautifully. She was lice-free in no time. It's also a less expensive way to treat the lice.
 
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The thought of trying to get lice out of thick wool makes me shudder!

I hope you find something that works!
 
pollinator
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This spring has been a terrible one for ticks here; our sheep were covered in them.  Looking through a book on organic veterinary treatment for dairy cattle, one oft-repeated treatment for external parasites (such as ticks and lice) was sublimed (powdered) sulfur.  I think we ended up feeding something like 1/4 tsp per head, mixed into alfalfa pellets and molasses, and it has done wonders with just a one-time treatment.  I think a topical treatment would work as well. 
 
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Whenever we move our goats and sheep to a new pasture, we lead the chickens into the old one. Not all of our pastures are suitable for the chickens and we’ve noticed that where the chickens have been, they have done a great job of reducing the number of ticks our animals (and us) pick up.

The Natural Fibre Company, where I send our raw Angora wool to be spun, will not accept fleeces with any traces of pesticides. Obviously we like our animals to be parasite free and comfortable and to begin with, at shearing time, we removed ticks by hand and threw them over the shed wall to the chickens. Gradually, when the chickens heard the shearing machine, a few of the older hens rushed up to the shed for their treats.

Little by little, we encouraged them to come into the shed and peck the ticks off the goats themselves. (They are much better than I am at that job !) Once the ticks are gone, they then begin to peck off lice with as many as five or six chickens working on a goat at any one time.





This part of the process took some time but thankfully, Angora goats are very calm animals and they now stand patiently after they have been sheared to allow a group of chickens to groom them. We keep the goats in for a few days after shearing and each morning the chickens start work on the goats as soon as we open the shed door.
 
raven ranson
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I applied Tea Tree oil to a few sheep the other day.  The next day those sheep had more flies than normal.  :(  But at least they enjoyed the message.

Yesterday I applied DE to some of the sheep and to main places they like to sleep. Let's see if that makes them less itchy.
 
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Anything to report?  Thanks for sharing your findings.
 
raven ranson
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tea tree oil - bust.  I think it made it worse.

DE - showing some benefit.  I couldn't get it on the sheep, but they do have a wallow so I put a bunch in there and where they sleep.  I plan to keep experimenting with it.

Changing minerals has also helped.

But I'm not confident this is enough.  I think the above would have prevented the problem.  not sure it's enough once it's gotten this bad.  But I'll give it time to work before I try something stronger.
 
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A wallow for sheep?

I've never heard of this and Google is only giving me 4-wheeling and some parable in the serps.

Please tell more about sheep wallows.
 
raven ranson
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I may be misspelling or more likely using an old regional variation from my family's origins.

It is a hollow spot in the field where they wear away the grass to expose the dust.  Alpacas and goats do this more, but some of my sheep make this to roll in.

It gets muddy when it rains, and for dust bathing, so it's a wallow.
 
Tick check! Okay, I guess that was just an itch. Oh wait! Just a tiny ad:
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