Ticks are bad for cows.They are small creatures that suck the blood of animals. Ticks cause skin diseases and other illnesses, and may permanently damage the cow’s teats. The teats become painful and infected. The milk becomes yellowish and may get clots. The cow may get skinny and stop giving milk.
Ticks are more common during the rainy season. There are baby ticks, young ones and adults. When a female tick is full of blood it falls onto the soil and lays thousands of eggs. Baby ticks can survive in the soil for months until an animal passes by, and the ticks climb onto its legs. When the cows lie down, ticks get onto the udder, under the tail and the leg pits.
How to Manage Ticks
Some birds eat ticks on cattle. In the kraal, chickens pick ticks from the ground and from the cows. At the end of the rainy season, there are many ticks. Burning the manure in the kraal will kill the ticks, but do not let the fire spread to the bush.
The agro-vet shop sells chemicals to kill ticks. But the wrong chemicals can kill your cattle. Tell the shopkeeper that you want a product to kill ticks on cattle. Chemicals that kill ticks are also harmful to people and animals. Be careful and protect yourself when using chemicals. A cow with many ticks may need to be treated once a week.
Chemicals can be costly, so some herders put used engine oil on a rag and rub it on the ticks. The oil smothers the ticks and they die. You can also pick hair from a comb, burn the hair and rub the ash on the teat. Observe your animals every day.
The safest and cheapest way to kill ticks is to pick them with your fingers. But you can only pick the big ticks that you can see. Never throw away or squeeze an engorged tick or it will release its eggs. Collect the ticks into a leaf or a plastic bag and burn them.
NB: The tips above can also be used for goats and sheep.