River Management Techniques. Upper Wharfedale Best Practice Project (Information Series No 6)

5.3. Sheep showers

Sheep showers were chosen in preference to dip baths on three National Trust farms. The shower units consist of a circular enclosure with an entry gate and an exit gate leading into a draining pen. Sheep are placed in the shower in groups of 12-18. Floor mounted sprays in the shower wet the underside of the sheep and a high level revolving spray bar douses the back and fleece. Dip fluid is pumped through the spray heads by an engine-powered pump. Dip falling off the sheep in the shower and draining areas flows back to a sump where it is picked up and recirculated. The Trust has also purchased a mobile sheep shower unit with integral draining pen for use by tenants for treatment of small numbers of sheep at off-lying sites.

Showers have significant environmental benefits over dip baths as the amount of dip chemicals required is kept to a minimum, with consequent reduction in the volume of spent dip to be disposed of. Small numbers of sheep may be treated without the need to fill up a dip bath to allow full immersion of animals. The shower units are easy to operate and cause less stress to sheep than dipping. One of the few limitations of this system is that it is not generally considered effective in control of sheep scab. In the event of such an outbreak an injected or other appropriate treatment would be required.

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