CATTLE dipping in many rural areas of Zambia has been a nightmare to say the least. Most of our local cattle farmers are in the countryside where we have a high concentration of cattle tick – borne diseases.
Here we do have a big challenge. When we talk of tick – borne diseases, this means there are many different diseases and are transmitted by the various types of ticks found in these areas where cattle and other livestock graze.
Some of these diseases are only prevalent in certain areas but are easily introduced into clean areas by human activities, that is moving of their cattle from one area to another.
In other circumstances and situations, buying cattle infected with any tick-borne disease from such an area and taken to a clean area. This always cause outbreaks of diseases which are foreign to a clean environment where local animals have not been exposed to such diseases. They have no such immunity. It is therefore, advisable and important at the same time for such farmers to construct dip – tanks to control tick – borne diseases. Prevention is better than cure. Some areas in this country have a lot of animals, they just roam and graze freely in vast plains and the owners never bother about dipping.
It is these areas which are very vulnerable to a tick – borne disease attack. Equally at risk are local cattle near game reserves and game management areas which may easily pick up infected ticks which have dropped from game animals, these easily infect domesticated cattle.
Ticks cannot be said to be clean, they are carriers of all sorts of animal diseases that are transmitted such as Gallsickness (Anaplamosis), Heartwater, Redwater, East Coast Fever (Theleriosis) and may other diseases which are introduced or transmitted through the activities of feeding by these ticks.
To reduce or lessen tick challenge, it is important to control or kill these ticks although they cannot be completely eliminated due to other players in this circle.
In heavily-cattle populated areas the need to have a dip tank is very important because this contributes to the health of an animal.
In turn, it is the cattle farmer who would sell the animal at a better price hence earning good income from whatever cattle sales that may take place.
Now let us look at this dip – tank. The best time to commence construction is at the end of the rainy season when the soil has not yet become too hard to dip. This also gives plenty of time to complete the construction before the beginning of the next rains.
Firstly, select a site on which to build. It must be very ideal for such construction. If possible, get an officer from the Veterinary Department to help site or find an ideal site.
It is also essential that a reliable water supply be available within a reasonable distance – 250 meters of the site would be appropriate. It should be of permanent supply especially during the dry season which should be available for tank replenishment and for watering cattle before dipping.
In the rural areas, the ideal material would be the burnt pan birds, and this would be the ideal situation. A trench can be dug which 13.95 meters long on the surface. Depth 2.30 meters and width 2.30 meters wide. Bottom of the plunging area should be 5.55 meters long and the area which should take the steps to the surface to be 8.40 meters long.
– Burnt bricks 12 000 number
– Cement 68 x 50kg pockets
– Sand 8 m3
Cement 17 x 50kg pockets
Sand 2 m3
8g wire for reinforcing 2 rolls
- Concrete for bottom, steps
– Cement 45 x 50kg pockets
– Sand 5 m3
– Stones 9 m3
– 25 x 100 mm timber, 3.5 m long for shuttering
- Roofing structure.
– 3.5 long treated gum poles/
timber 22 number
– 3 m long iron sheets 27 No.
– Roofing nails 1kg
Once the dip – tank is completed, it is important to form an association or a cooperative to run this dip tank efficiently by the local community.
Rules and regulations can then be put in place by the members that will govern the running and maintenance of this structure. This would be to the benefit of the community. The construction should be supervised by livestock officers from the Department of Livestock.
The nearest veterinary camp can be approached for the supervision on construction. When it comes to the mixing of any accessories the same camp extension officers would be involved so that the correct dosage is added to knock – down these ticks.
How to maintain the strength the same officer would teach the dip tank committees? The dip tank may seem to be useless yet it is one of the very important item in maintaining animal health.
Wherever cattle are reared or kept, such structures should be put up and the government should come up with a deliberate policy to compel cattle owners in the entire country to observe the dipping law of cattle if the nation is to have total control over this diseases transmitted by ticks.
Let us make a difference in the coming year 2019 as far as cattle health is concerned. The healthier the cattle the better income to be realised.
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