Work in progress
In Southern Rhodesia it was required by law that all farm cattle be
dipped once a week, except for a few months in midyear, when the period was
extended to a fortnight. This was quite contrary to what pertained in most other
regions of the cattle producing world, where cattle might only be rounded up a few
times in their entire lives.
This requirement obviously created a major routine task, perhaps
only exceeded by that of the dairyman. To consider the most primitive case:
suppose the cattle ranch had no internal fencing, and cattle wandered all over
it as they wished. To round up all animals on one day and dip them would be
practically impossible. What about the ones missing? One would have to
search the entire property again, while the ones already rounded up were
held somewhere. And in the case of one herd, all classes of stock
For the first half of the last century, until it was superceded by the
organophospate and synthetic pyrethrins, arsenic of soda was the standard
cattle dip in Rhodesia, and in South Africa.
Unlike the dips which replaced it, arsenicical dip had the advantage
that its strength could be easily and frequently checked on the spot. This was
particularly important in the rainy season when ticks were most a problem, and
also when heavy rain often managed to drain back from the oulet race of the dip
and dilute the dip in the tank.
For testing, a sample of a pint or so of dip was taken from the tank.
This was full of suspended dirt. The sample was clarified with a small amount of
hydrochloric acid, and a measured amount of the clear fluid transferred to a
small conical flask. This was typically an empty bottle of the ubiquitous office
glue called "Gloy", This glue was also used as the source of starch for the
titration that followed. A specially calibrated measuring cylinder was used to
determine the amount of Champion's Dip Testing Iodine, - available at many
chemists,- was used to achieve a colour change in the dip-starch solution.
[Sue: Please can you explain the chemistry. I did it often enough in the early
Fifties when I was a kid, and even in the Early Seventies in some dips. I am
sure the starch was not measured - just an excess amount was used.]
*gallsickness] Anaplasmosis. One of the main serious diseases of cattle
causes by the ricketsial bacteria Anaplasma marginale
But it occurs in other parts of the world. Why weekly dipping in
Make related file re dipping.
Opened: 16 March 2009 Last Modified: 9th April 2010 . Last posted:
Dipping at Bradford
Counting cattle after dipping. Peter Fletcher. Charles Loxton. 1955
The Africander herd at Wessels Block dip, ca. 1955
Dip built 192?
Cattle nearing Zimbile main dip
Charles Loxton counting cattle, Mapinkili dip, Zimbile, ca. 1955
All but 1 son of Charles' family were murdered on their farm
BEN FLETCHER FAMILY PHOTOS
Ben Fletcher testing arsenical dip
Africanders jumping into dip
One refuses to dip
[These photos of Ben were almost certainly all taken by Johne in his
middle years at R.B.H.S. He was an active member of the school
photographic society. In the dip testing photo Ben was most likely
kneeling near the low wall of the dipping tank and using this to put
his box of equipment on. In 1953 the family were Matabeleland based
from a farming point of view. If it was a dip on Kogha, then the hills in
the distance could be the Umlungwani Range, rather than these or
the Blue Hills possibly visible from Hilton.
& many more photos