A common wintertime pest in cattle herds – lice – can suck money from producers’ pockets, said Dr. Jason Banta, beef cattle specialist, Overton.
Banta said lice can infest cattle throughout the year, but more problems are seen from December to March.
“As the weather gets colder, cows grow longer, thicker hair and that produces better cover and protection for lice, which means the lice have better reproductive rates,” he said.
There are two types of lice that affect cattle herds, Banta said – biting lice and sucking lice.
“Lice will cause reduced appetite in a herd, which means reduced performance,” he said. “It’s important to be aware of the pest this time of year.”
Lice can also reduce red blood cells by 75 percent, and animals with heavy infestations can become anemic, Banta said.
They are transmitted through physical contact between cows, he said. Breaking the pests’ life cycle is the key to lice control.
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