Ticks are blood-sucking arachnids that survive by feeding off both human and animal hosts. Ticks are responsible for causing and contributing to an assortment of different ailments and failure to control the tick population among your cattle can have serious health consequences for your cows. It is essential for you to take preventative measures against tick infestation in your herd.
Ticks pose a number of problems for your cattle herd. Ticks can cause skin irritation and hair loss in individual animals. They can also cause bovine anaemia, Lyme disease, heartwater, gallsickness and an assortment of other diseases. Cows that are infested with ticks may be in poor physical condition, lethargic or even develop infections as a result of the damage to their skin. Ticks are relatively easy to identify; they are small, round bugs that attach to the cow's skin. Ticks bodies swell as they feed off their hosts, becoming rounder and rounder until they fill up and fall off the host.
Cattle Tick Control
The cows in your herd can be treated with a dip, spray or other long-term aracide treatment to help prevent ticks from attaching to them and that will assist in killing off ticks that attempt to feed on the cows. You can also physically inspect your animals on a regular basis and remove ticks that you observe on your cows. You can remove ticks by grasping them with a pair of tweezers directly behind their heads and pulling them off of the animal. Make sure to get the tick's head out of the skin or you risk infection developing.
Your cows will pick up ticks as they walk through pasture. If you want to limit the number of ticks your cows pick up then you need to maintain your pastures. Ticks are more likely to thrive in tall grasses and brush-filled areas; keep your pastures mowed down to help control your tick population. Texas A & M University also suggests treating your pastures with a pesticide that kills ticks, such as permethrin.
Other Methods of Control
Chickens and guinea hens provide an excellent natural source of tick control. You should also put up sturdy fences that will discourage wildlife animals such as deer and hogs from entering your pastures. These animals often carry ticks and will bring ticks into your cattle's environment. When you are bringing new cows into your existing herd, you should carefully inspect them and treat them for ticks before releasing them into the pasture with your animals.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Ticks
- Texas A&M: Cattle (beef & dairy)
- Department of Agriculture Republic of South Africa: Methods of Tick Control In Cattle
- Iowa State University: Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases in Iowa
- Western Cape Department of Agriculture: Tick Borne Diseases in Ruminants
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Preventing Ticks in the Yard
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Tick Removal
- University of Connecticut: Guinea Fowl Management
- The Beef Site: Bovine Anaemia - Theileria
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Life cycle of Hard Ticks that Spread Disease
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.