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Welcome, Deborah, and questions

 
Livia Blaszak
Posts: 19
Location: North Plains, OR
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Haven't read your book yet, but I will. Until then, I would like to ask you what is your opinion, and management on internal parasites? I read somewhere, maybe was even here on this board, someone was saying that if goats spend the night in the same shed or barn, rotating them in different areas during the day won't do any good for keeping worms at bay. I have that exact situation, and moving them weekly is a big chore, but I was doing it because I thought it helped. Do you agree with the above statement, and if yes, could you elaborate a little.

Thank you in advance, and I am looking forward to hear your opinion, and to read your book.

Livia in Oregon
 
Deborah Niemann
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Hi Livia,

It depends on which worm is your problem. For most people, it's barber pole worm (haemonchus contortus), and it transmits from goat to goat via pasture, so you have no worries about bringing goats into the same barn every night. Barber pole eggs hatch on pasture, then the larvae float up on the grass when its wet. The goat eats the grass and gets infected. Many people are under the impression that the larvae crawls up on the grass, but that's not the case. It has no legs or means of locomotion, so unless the grass is wet (such as rain or morning dew), the larvae stays down wherever the egg hatched. This is also why rotational grazing recommendations suggest moving goats to clean pasture when the grass is six inches tall. Larvae don't float up that high.

However, if you have kids, you do need to keep the barn free from a lot of obvious poop. Like human kids, goat kids put everything in their mouths! And if poop is sitting there, they'll pick it up before realizing it's gross and spitting it out. But it's too late at that point because they pick up coccidia that way. Although coccidia is not a worm, it is viewed as an internal parasite, and it can make kids sick. Most adults have it in their gut, but it doesn't usually cause a problem for them. Kids who are nursing and getting lots of mom's milk don't usually have a problem because they are getting her antibodies. To avoid problems with coccidia, you just need to spread fresh straw to cover up the poop every day or two, depending upon the number of goats in the barn. I always tell new interns here that if they aren't willing to sit down on the straw and play with the kids, it's too dirty and needs more straw.

Hope that explains things a little better. The parasite chapter in my book is 24 pages, so it's tough to give a short answer to a parasite question!
 
Livia Blaszak
Posts: 19
Location: North Plains, OR
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Thank you for your reply. I really am looking forward to read your book.

Luckily, we don't have a worm problem, even though we don't really live in the best environment for goats. Our very mild and wet winters are probably a heaven for barber poles. Before getting goats, I read so many horror stories about parasites in goats, and how many people in different parts of the country have to chemically deworm every month, and how they need to switch between brands because of resistance, and at some point I thought I just don't want any goats if that is what I needed to do. But I looked for other ways, and came up with my own management plan, keeping in mind all of the good advices. We bought an old 2 horse trailer, over which I put a tarp fastened to t-posts in four corners to make a bigger sheltered area, and a bunch of electric netting, and I move the goats weekly or so to a new area. The trailer and tarp help with rain and sun. They always eat new stuff, mostly browse - we have lots of blackberries, and many other deep rooted weeds, maple trees and firs. At night they sleep in their three sided shed, with straw bedding, which I do keep as fresh and clean as I possibly can. My husband built a mineral tray out of wood, with several compartments, and we mounted it on the inside of the trailer to keep dry, and I put many things in there, Fertrell goat mix - which they almost never touch, yeast sporadically, Redmond salt, kelp, baking soda, dolomite. They do lick the salt, the kelp, and less Diamond V yeast, and baking soda.

In almost three years, I only had to worm once, and I know it was because I kept them over the winter too long in one big section. The food was plentiful, but they like to spend a lot of time by the trailer, and it was wet and not very cold this last winter… Every so often I do fecals, usually the time of the month when the moon is in waxing cycle, -between new moon and full moon, and I look at their eyes now and then. Of course, I look at their poop every day.







 
Matt Vader
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Do you do your own fecals?

Do you have any good resources on how to learn this skill?

What is the thought behind the waxing moon and parasites?
 
Livia Blaszak
Posts: 19
Location: North Plains, OR
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Matt,
Here is a link to the best explained DIY fecals I know of:
http://fiascofarm.com/goats/fecals.htm

Apparently, parasites lay their eggs between new moon and full moon cycle. That is what you're testing in a fecal exam: eggs. If worms don't lay eggs, the goats - or any animal for that matter- could be loaded and a fecal test would not show it. Most other signs of a heavy worm load are present when the load is very heavy.
 
Kurt Stailey
Posts: 36
Location: Indiana, zone 6
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We are getting the equipment to do our own fecals, but our vet has shown us in her office the various worms types when we bring in samples. All our goats carry worms, but a healthy goat given what it needs nutritionally seem to keep those numbers at a safe level. Rotating our animals has seemed to help with worm issues, but it could also be something we have done. A goat/deer(they are very similar) in the wild would not sleep in the same spot every night, for whatever thats worth.

--Kurt
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