We breed bucking bulls here at the 4B Ranch and pay big bucks for top genetics. The last thing we want to do is damage that pricey DNA by using pesticides for fly control. But let unchecked, flies can cause disease and decrease weight gain and milk production along with lots of misery with their biting, buzzing and swarming. We’ve found we can control these pests organically with an integrated approach.Our recipe for relief has multiple interlocking parts. First, good sanitation is key. Manure is cleaned up daily into composting piles. There is no standing water or pooling urine. Spring through fall we release fly parasites on an every three week schedule. These small insects disrupt the fly life cycle.
Fly parasites have been around for more than 20 years and are available from several reputable vendors that you can find on the web. These beneficial insects only affect flies and are both easy to use and economical. You can get good fly traps and bait from many of the same companies. These vary quite a bit so I recommend you read product reviews before buying a system.We also move our cattle through fly boxes daily during fly season when they come in for grain feeding. Fly boxes are covered frames that are coated with adhesive bait on the interior. Flies jump off the cows and stick to the inside of the box where they die. We also have free range laying chickens that are free to roam our pastures. The birds do a great job of eating fly larva and parasite eggs. And we get wonderful rich yolked eggs as a side benefit.
If the weather is really hot and humid, or we get an influx of flies from a neighboring farm, we use some organic pesticide application directly on the animals but most of the time, this is unnecessary. We have not needed to place insecticide ear tags. That’s it. And I can walk around out in my pastures and not get eaten alive. My cattle can relax and concentrate on chewing their cuds, making babies and watching their chickens unworried by nasty biting pests.
I want to start by saying I feel like this is an important read for people considering bringing these dogs home as a family pet. I am often asked, “Do Sarplaniancs make good pets?” I have a hard time answering this. For me, they make an excellent pet that I could not imagine living without. That being said, for most people no they do not make good pets. Let’s start with the good, and end with the bad.THE GOOD:1. Much more calm and low energy than a lab by comparison, especially after age three when they are “mature”.2. Glad to provide the owner with company, without needing the owner to constantly provide affection.3. If you leave them in the backyard for a while (while you are at work for example) they are so independent they don’t really miss you and are totally content to “guard” the house
4. Typically very gentle with children when socialized at a young age.5. Not very playful, they may fetch a ball because you want them to but they don’t particularly want to.6. Low maintenance grooming.7. Highly intelligent8. Usually very easy to walk especially when started young. Most aren’t a big fan of running and dragging you around for no reason and are quite content to slowly trotting down the street.THE BAD:1. It takes real dedication to train them. Any harsh punishment training can easily lead to an aggressive dog. Training MUST be done based on a reward system, not punishment.2. It is in their nature to not have human direction- they have been bred to watch flocks independent for humans. This means that there will almost certainly be times, no matter how well trained they are, they will not follow a command when they have decided something else is of greater importance.3. They are guardians- anything they see, smell, or detect around you property they are not familiar with will cause them to respond. Usually this response starts with a bark. When you are talking about a large dog you got to remember this means a large bark. Neighbors tend to not be a big fan of this activity. Most owners have to purchase a bark collar to keep the neighbors happy.4. They MUST be provided with a hard chew toy when they are younger (my male’s chew stage with between 3-9 months). I actually got a small tractor tire and partially deflated it and gave that to him to chew. That seemed to solve my problem. However, before I got this tire my male puppy decided he was going to chew the bottom wood step on my porch. I came home and it looked like a beaver went after it. Thankfully the tire solved that issue.
5. I said low maintenance grooming before, and I meant that. However, there is one month out of the year when winter leaves and spring comes when that is a lie. During this shed they lose their very dense undercoat which will literally come out in the hand full. Unless you want hair all over your house I highly recommend brushing them multiple times a week for this month.