Posted by: 347bennetrd | August 29, 2010

Q. What is Drenching?

A. Dear “City Girl”

What a delight to receive your question and be able to fill you in!

Luckily this week we were shearing the hoggets and so I had plenty of opportunity to take photos and even a video of this activity purely for your edification…

Well, to begin at the beginning, we drench to treat for internal parasites.  However use of drench can be rather like the use of antibiotics; resistance builds up and more powerful treatments need to be developed.  In the past we used to drench all mature ewes with a slow-release capsule prior to lambing, but this contributed to drench resistance so now we only drench poor ewes as needed.  Lambs are drenched regularly after weaning while fattening.

The main tool is the drench gun, here;

Depending on the weight of the animal, you can adjust the amount of the dose by turning the screws at the bottom of the handle.  We estimated the hoggets to be at about 40kg so they received a dose of 9mls.

The drench gun is attached to a drench pack, two of which are shown here;

The white one on the left is the old styles – I hate using it!  The straps are just bits of canvassy material and they slip off my shoulders at untimely moments (yes, I know you can tighten them, but they’re still a pain).  However, we ordered a new drench gun during the main shear and it came with a fancy new “Eze-pak” which is to the right.  I love it!  Its a backpack with comfortable straps!  And it has a kind of holster thingy for the drench gun (I sat it on the drench drums, bottom right so you could see it) which is brilliant and means I don’t need to stress if I have to go and shed up for the shearers while I’m got the pack on :).

So anyway, you pile up a heap of sheep into the drenching race (the tighter the better cos then they can’t turn around and wriggle and duck and dive) and away you go, grabbing each sheep’s head, using the fingers of your left hand to open their lips, and insert the metal point down their throat with the right hand.

Here I am, demonstrating;

So City Girl, I hope this answered your question!  And please, should you have any more, don’t hesitate to ask!!

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