Ectoparasites, especially ticks and tsetse flies are major threats to dairy farming associated with low production, weight loss and causing diseases which are very expensive to treat. Hand spraying using chemical acaricides is one of the most effective and widely control methods used against these dangerous parasites. There are however requirements, equipment/materials and correct spraying procedure that should be observed for the success of this method in controlling parasites.
Materials required include a knapsack sprayer or a bucket pump, a bucket, an acaricide, a measuring syringe, water for diluting the acaricide, a crush, nose mask, pair of gumboots and protective overcoat. Successful hand spraying also depends on how correct you restrain the animal, accuracy of measuring and right mixing of acaricide with water, use of efficient pump and proper use of the spray mix. The spray mix should be mixed in right concentration depending on the acaricide manufacturer’s instructions on the label and applied on all body parts of the cow. Always use calibrated syringes in measuring the amount of chemical acaricide to give you accurate amounts. The distance between the nozzle and the body of the cow greatly dictates the penetration of spray mix onto the cow’s body surface; ensure you do not exceed 1 foot.
With all these in mind, restrain the cow into the crush, dress up well in all the protective wears and proceed to mix the acaricide with water. First read carefully and understand the manufacturer’s instructions on the label. This is important to know the recommended ratio of mixing acaricide and water. Next measure the acaricide using the calibrated syringe and pour into an empty bucket or knapsack sprayer. Measure the required volume of water but do not pour the whole of it into the container with the acaricide. Only pour little enough to enable you stir easily; this enables uniform mixing of the acaricide with water before you eventually pour the whole volume required. Stir or shake thoroughly until an even emulsion easily mixable with the rest of the water volume is formed. Pour the final water volume, shake thoroughly as well and spray back from the nozzle to the mixture for about one minute. This mixture is now ready for use.
The following ten point procedure will help you achieve complete animal wetting and ensure minimum wastage of the spray wash mix.
- Begin with spraying the back of the cow from the shoulders to the tail head.
- Move to nozzle to the sides and spray the flanks in a zig-zag pattern to ensure that the excess spray wash running from the back of the cow is completely absorbed and retained on the wet flanks.
- Next spray the belly of the cow with the nozzle facing upwards.
- Then spray the udder of the cow, including the hidden parts between the hind legs and the udder.
- Spray both rear legs not leaving out the heels and between the hooves.
- Lift the tail and spray the underneath it, spraying between the legs also.
- Move towards the back of the cow, hold the tail along her back and spray it up to the switch.
- Move on to spray the neck, shoulders, and the front legs plus the heels and between the hooves.
- Then spray the head emphasizing on wetting the base of the area around the horn.
- Without spraying, hold the nozzle close to one ear then put a sudden jet of spray directed inside the ear. Repeat the same for the other ear.
Where cows have dry dung on their sides, it is important that you scrap them off gently using a brush and clean water before beginning spraying to increase surface area of spray mix penetration. Handling these acaricides should generally aim at observing safety precautions to avoid accidents, killing all the ticks without causing any harm to both the cow and the spraying person. It should also ensure that wounds or tissues of any treated cow should not contain illegal residues, and not causing adverse effects to the environment.
If all these are not completely followed, ticks are more likely to survive, boost resistance to the acaricide and put your cow at risk. After the exercise, dispose all used package materials and rinse all the apparatus with clean water and store for next use.000