Work in progress

Cattle Work

Background 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case of one herd, all classes of stock etc etc etc Cattle Dips: For the first half of the last century, until it was superceded by the organophospate and synthetic pyrethrins, arsenic of soda was the standard cattle dip in Rhodesia, and in South Africa. etc etc 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.] etc etc =================== Comments *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 southern Africa? Make related file re dipping. Filename: 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 testing arsenical dip

Africander cattle

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. N.F.] & many more photos ========= ===========
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