Managing parasites in replacement rams
On arrival, check your replacement rams for parasites like worms and lice so that these parasites are not introduced to your property.
Replacement rams carrying more than 3 months wool should be:
- shorn when they arrive
- inspected for lice and treated if infested
- poll-jetted - i.e. spraying (jetting) the top of the ram's head (poll) with insecticide to prevent flystrike
- placed in a well-shaded paddock.
Your replacement rams should have been drenched before leaving the stud.
On arrival, check your rams for worms using a worm egg count and treat if appropriate with an effective drench. This will ensure that they are not bringing drench-resistant worms with them.
After treatment, hold the rams for at least 2-3 days in a quarantine area before releasing them into the ram paddock.
It is preferable not to buy rams infested with lice. Ideally, your stud supplier would not offer them for sale.
If your replacement rams are infested with lice, treat them immediately.
Some treatments take weeks to kill lice, so make sure you refer to the product information and isolate the rams for the specified time. It is important to treat lice infestations as the itching, rubbing and biting can damage skin and pre-dispose animals to flystrike.
The irritation and discomfort can also cause:
- reduced libido
- loss of body condition
- reduced testicular weight (and therefore sperm production).
If blowflies are active, newly arrived rams should be shorn or given a thorough jetting on the poll, shoulders, backline, breech and pizzle with a minimum residue chemical.
Flystruck rams are less interested in serving ewes than healthy rams, and even small blowfly strikes will reduce ram fertility for about 8 weeks after the problem is fixed.
Badly struck rams should be culled so that they don't pass their susceptibility to flystrike on to their progeny.