Lanolin product coldproofs small stock

A new weather guard product which will soon be tested on South Africa’s small stock could be a godsend to Angora farmers in particular. Roelof Bezuidenhout reports.
Issue date : 26 September 2008

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An Australian chemist has developed a lanolin-based spray-on that keeps shorn animals warm in cold weather. Inventor Henry King says he’s about to send a batch of his product, known as Thermoskin, to South Africa for testing on Angora goats, which are extremely sensitive to cold, wet and windy conditions straight after shearing. T hermoskin helps the animal to maintain its body temperature – something modern Angora goats struggle to do.

This is one of the main reasons for the decline in SA mohair production as more and more farmers switch to less vulnerable breeds. While the spray has been tested on Angoras in Australia, their mohair farming is practised on a much smaller scale. So far, the focus has been on testing the product on shorn sheep in that country’s colder regions. King says treated sheep fare much better than untreated ones as they gain more weight during extended periods of bad weather. he idea of using lanolin – a natural oil found in Merino wool – in a spray was suggested to King by a sheep farmer. Now, farmers who have tried the product use it instead of the traditional jackets made from fabric.

Locally, various oil dips – including old motor oil – have been used to protect goats from cold, but with varying success. King says his product is completely biodegradable and environmentally friendly and exempted for registration by both the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority and New Zealand Agricultural Compounds and Medicines Group. “It’s a quick, effective way of protecting the flock for up to six weeks after shearing,” says King. “It takes only a few seconds to apply. All you do is spray 50ml of the liquid over the animal, using a portable spray gun. It dries within two minutes and becomes effective against rain within a quarter of an hour.” He added that the treatment can be applied at any age and does not damage or affect the wool. Nor does it block the pizzle, anus or vulva.

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King claims the spray-on will also protect and seal minor shearing cuts and nicks, promote faster healing and reduce fleece contamination. I n Australia the product is considered cost-effective at around AU,30/head plus VAT. It’s made by Zestwin Pty Ltd, Down Under Chemicals. According to King, Thermoskin has been trialed at studs and commercial properties from Woolbrook, Eden Monaro, Yass, Highlands of East Gippsland, Dunkeld and Alexandra, New Zealand. “I’m doing another demonstration with Angora goats later this month,” he said. Contact Henry King on 0418 641 645, visit www.theroskin.com.au or e-mail [email protected] |fw •