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Author Topic: New Pasture and Possible Worm Problem  (Read 1679 times)

Sue Ryall

  • Joined May 2022
New Pasture and Possible Worm Problem
« on: October 25, 2022, 11:27:28 am »
Hi there

I've purchased new pasture for my small flock of Soay/Hebridean and Boreray sheep with no current worm/fluke problems.

I have concerns about the health of the sheep which are currently held on the new pasture as they appear to have scour (possible wom issues) and I'm concerned that this will be passed on from the grass/soil to my sheep when I move them (the sheep currently occupying the pasture will be removed when purchase completes in a few days)..  I'm relatively new to shepherding (just over a year) and need some advice on how to manage the pasture and introduction of my flock to the new land?  I've been told that worm eggs can survive 3 weeks in soil/grass but am a bit sceptical about this advice.  I'm minded to leave the pasture clear for 6 weeks before moving the sheep there and then dose and a few weeks later worm count.  I haven't dosed my sheep to date as worm counts have shown not needed.

Any advice would be greatfully appreciated as to how I should manage the situation.

« Last Edit: October 25, 2022, 11:32:01 am by Sue Ryall »

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: New Pasture and Possible Worm Problem
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2022, 01:56:23 pm »
If the sheep currently on the pasture have mucky backends - you have a worm issue there (and possibly fluke as well). Worm eggs can survive for much longer than 3 weeks, and the general advice would be to leave it empty for at least 6months, longer if possible.


Do you have any means of housing your flock for the winter period (or keep them on their current field if it is clean) and maybe have some hardy cattle grazing there over winter? Or just leave it empty, or even better, get it ploughed and re-seeded before putting on your flock... all this is probably far too expensive for you (as it would be for me, if I already had the sheep). Leaving them on a very small piece of your field, feed lots of hay all winter to let the most part of the field lay fallow and recover would possibly be another option.


I would also discuss this with your vet in detail, as -if you put your sheep on straight away - you will need a robust health plan and worming regime for the next year. Resistant worms may make your choice of wormer quite limited.


Sorry not much help, but I started with some worm problems (the flock not the land...) and now will not use any other rented fields (I was offered some for free...) because I know my flock (and my herd of goats) are clear.

Simonson82

  • Joined Oct 2022
Re: New Pasture and Possible Worm Problem
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2022, 02:23:29 pm »
Where ever you have sheep your pretty much going to have some sort of worm situation. This year seems to be particularly bad from long hot summer to very wet autumn  it's also made fluke especially bad.
Are the sheep on the field lambs? Lambs are always more susceptible to worms and simply may just not have been treated. This isn't to say your sheep ( I'm presuming are adults) will have the same problem in the field as they have an amount of imunity to them being adult.
Worm eggs can last well over 6 months in the soil. So the mission is to manage them rather than completely kill them all completely. Doing the latter over the years has led to worm immunity and a severe problem for sheep farming in the future.
I'd suggest  to just keep an eye on them in the field. Treat any that look like their loosing condition, or of you want peace of mind, send poo samples off for egg counts.

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: New Pasture and Possible Worm Problem
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2022, 03:56:13 pm »
It's a rock and a hard place isn't it. To allow the land to recover from a heavy worm burden I think it's the plough and reseed option or lie fallow for a year. Cross grazing with cattle could help but people are going to be bringing cattle in and I assume the current grazier will eat it bare before they vacate.


You could take poo samples and get a FEC done so you know what you are dealing with.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: New Pasture and Possible Worm Problem
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2022, 08:10:06 pm »
If you can't remove the worms from the pasture, how about protecting your sheep during the first year, using Cydectin?  It's a long-acting injectable wormer - details here.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Badger Nadgers

  • Joined Mar 2013
  • Derbyshire/North Staffs
  • Teeswater & Hebridean
Re: New Pasture and Possible Worm Problem
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2022, 08:53:46 pm »
Have used it (cydectin injectable) when neighbouring flock had scab (which it also covers).  Injecting into the base of the ear takes a bit of getting used to and needs an extra pair of hands to heep the head steady.  Might be tricky access for mature rams of horned sheep.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2022, 09:05:22 pm by Badger Nadgers »

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: New Pasture and Possible Worm Problem
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2022, 11:05:00 pm »
Were it me, I wouldn't let my sheep near the field for at least a year, but take a hay crop off it.  Your own sheep you say are worm free/low worm count - that's a wonderful place to be and it seems all wrong to infect your animals by putting them on ground you know to be non-specifically wormy, then try to control the situation by filling them with long-acting drugs.  Hence your question, of course. It could well be that there is a wormer resistance problem in the flock that is grazing them now so you would inherit that too.

Can you manage your sheep on an existing pasture for this year?  What do you think of the option to plough and reseed?
Can you speak to the person currently grazing the land? He/she might have some information for you on the history of the land re worms.

Have you heard of the The Mordun Research Institute near Edinburgh?  They do research on animal parasites and illness and publish monthly reports.  For the latest advice on how to manage worms in livestock, have a look at their website
https://moredun.org.uk/?s=sheep+management+for+parasite+control
You have to sort through endless papers to find articles relevant to your situation, but it makes good bedtime reading!

The other place to go for advice is of course your vet who should be up to date with current best practice and should also know the land in your area and the typical parasites present. He/she may even know the land you have bought.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: New Pasture and Possible Worm Problem
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2022, 02:03:04 am »
Fleecewife has said just what I was going to say, if at all possible, leave and get a crop of hay off next year. If necessary,  try and rent some land that has had something else on, or used for hay/silage this year. Hot dry weather to the bottom of the grass dries out the eggs and larva.

Of course it's not only parasites that could be a problem, diseases, and footrot could be present, more reasons to keep off for a year.
Sorry if I'm putting a downer on your excitement for your new land, I know how it feels.
We've taken hay off our field this year, after tenant (cattle) vacated and there has often been a neighbours sheep getting in since, until I could get good fences in. I'm impatient to get my goats onto the fresh land, they are more susceptible to worm burden than my sheep, who get moved round their fields.


vfr400boy

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • one life live it
Re: New Pasture and Possible Worm Problem
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2022, 02:50:40 pm »
I have a similar question,  iv just been offered some new grazing,  how ever the last person to keep sheep on there suffered with barber worms ! Shoud this land be avoided?

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: New Pasture and Possible Worm Problem
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2022, 03:15:17 pm »
No, they're just worms, the same as any other worms really. How long has the land been without sheep on it?
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

vfr400boy

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • one life live it
Re: New Pasture and Possible Worm Problem
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2022, 03:18:20 pm »
No, they're just worms, the same as any other worms really. How long has the land been without sheep on it?
A month

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: New Pasture and Possible Worm Problem
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2022, 03:33:20 pm »
Yours is pretty much the same question as the original poster's above then.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: New Pasture and Possible Worm Problem
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2022, 05:52:49 pm »
I've always found the best way to clean grassland for sheep (short of reseeding) is to graze with another species. I appreciate that it's autumn and unlikely to be much grass left, but you can use small and therefore lighter animals to prevent it getting too churned up. Small or young cattle, donkeys, or shetland ponies are all suitable. Possibly let someone else use the field to save buying your own animals. If they are fed hay throughout the winter and the hay rings are constantly moved then in spring all you need to do is take the animals off and harrow and roll where it's churned up and the hay has fallen, and the discarded hay will reseed the bare patches. This is cheaper and takes less time to recover than ploughing up.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: New Pasture and Possible Worm Problem
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2022, 10:16:58 pm »
Perhaps a possible option would be to 'swap' land with someone for a year with a different species on?

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: New Pasture and Possible Worm Problem
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2022, 01:57:58 pm »
Rotational grazing works, but only if you apply a little knowledge of how the different species graze.

Cattle do not eat the grass as low as sheep, and ponies will eat it lower still.

So to clean grass which has had sheep on it, the options are

  • let the grass grow long enough for cattle (4" sward height), then graze with cattle.  Not a perfect answer as some sheep worm eggs may lurk at a lower level than cattle will graze, so to be ultra safe, take a hay crop as well or instead, and keep sheep off until 2024
  • graze hard with native ponies.  Shetlands or Fells will graze it pretty close (to bare) and will get pretty much all the sheepy worm eggs.  For ultra safety, graze it twice with ponies, once when it's sunny again so the exposed stem bases get sunned on.  But you may not find anyone willing to put native ponies on growing grass in spring and early summer, as it can risk laminitis
  • I can't bring myself to suggest ploughing and reseeding, but you could get pigs to turn it over, then roll it.  The grass will usually grow again without help, but you could help it along with some suitable grass seed if you want.
  • no livestock at all this year or next, but take a hay crop next summer

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

 

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