Effects of helminth infection on the pre-weaning production of ewes and lambs: evaluation of pre- and post-lambing drenching and provision of safe lambing pasture
Waller, P.J., Donnelly, J.R., Dobson, R.J., Donald, A.D., Axelsen, A. and Morley, F.H. (1987) Effects of helminth infection on the pre-weaning production of ewes and lambs: evaluation of pre- and post-lambing drenching and provision of safe lambing pasture. Australian Veterinary Journal, 64 (11). pp. 339-343.
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The pre-weaning production of ewes and lambs in spring on pastures grazed during the previous autumn and early winter by either weaner sheep, adult sheep, or cattle was investigated together with estimating the benefits of pre- and post-lambing drenches to ewes. These treatments were compared with one in which parasitism was uncontrolled in ewes lambing on pastures grazed previously by untreated weaner sheep, and another where parasitism was suppressed by 2-weekly drenching of the weaner sheep and also of the ewes and their lambs. Prior grazing by cattle effectively eliminated infection of pastures with intestinal Trichostrongylus and Nematodirus spp, but less so for Ostertagia spp. Worthwhile reductions in contamination were also achieved by grazing by adult sheep compared with grazing by undrenched weaners. Despite differences in the parasitological status of the pastures, there were no indications that pre-weaning growth rates of lambs were affected. However, wool growth in ewes was reduced by 10 to 20% by parasite infection. Wool growth of ewes on pastures grazed by cattle during the pre-experimental period exceeded that on any other treatment, and was significantly greater than that of ewes on pastures grazed by undrenched weaners. There was no production benefit in giving a pre-lambing drench to ewes on plots contaminated by weaners, or in giving the additional post-lambing drench to ewes grazing on plots contaminated by weaners, adult sheep or cattle.
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