Can sheep get fleas?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by adnilee, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. adnilee

    adnilee Well-Known Member

    Feb 1, 2004
    We recently purchased our winter supply of hay from an old man who had a barn full of cats. It appears that the hay is infested with fleas or was probably infested with eggs.
    Can these fleas infest the sheep? I am hoping that the first good frost will knock them out.
    Any ideas?
    We have a ram and a ewe and newborn in the barn with the hay right now.
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 9, 2002
    I would imagine any warm blooded critter can get fleas and host eggs, I'm not so sure hay bales can (have eggs) though.

  3. redroving

    redroving Well-Known Member

    Sep 27, 2005
    Merced, CA
    I have never heard of sheep getting fleas but you never know. I think the wool (lanolin) on the sheep would prevent the fleas from infesting the sheep. The newborn may get infested until the natural lanolin kicks in.
    Our sheep have cats, squirrels and rabbits all around them and never have a flea problem.
  4. Celtic Herritag

    Celtic Herritag Celtic Heritage Farms

    Jul 13, 2005
    CA, Usa
    Yes sheep can get fleas, lice, keds, bots, everything that every other critter can get. Yes they have wool, which prevents some types of lice and fleas, but also remember that thier heads, and legs are covered in hair. And infestation can be the most annoying thing to deal with. Either be ready to dose everyone with ivomec regularly every 2 weeks for as long your feeding the hay or put every flake in the freezer for a week. The fleas can live in the heart of the bale and not be adversly affected by the cold, and the eggs can live for 2 weeks. I don't know of any sheep safe insecticides, sorry you got crummy hay. Can you maybe return it to the farmer?
  5. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2004
    New Zealand
    In 30 years of farming, and much of that time spent in areas where the flea is a problem, I have never seen one on a sheep. As Redroving suggests, the lanolin coupled with the density of the wool probably precludes infestation. Fleas stay away from the face and legs of animals as there is not enough flesh for them to get a good bite and this would hold true for the sheep as the face and lower leg which can be free of wool in many breeds, are quite literally skin and bone. Even on dogs and cats you won't find fleas on their legs and rarely on their faces.

    Quit worrying about fleas and concern yourself more with lice and keds which are an issue for sheep and they should be dealt with annually either by dipping, spraying or pour-on - and if fleas are around this treatments will deal to them as well.