We got our goats at the beginning of March, and they had just been given a dose of herbal wormer tea.
But we have not given them any other parasite control since then.
It is my understanding that tannins can provide a fair measure of parasitic control. Would you agree? Or should we provide some supplemental herbal control as well?
Our goats have a small pen that they stay in during the day, but after the morning milking and the evening milkings they are taken out to browse for about 45 minutes each time.
During browse time they have free choice of grasses, weeds, oak leaves and elm leaves, poison ivy and other vines.
Additionally, I found one perimeter of our property that has a small stand of Ceresa Lespedeza. Though the goats them selves are not often brought to that location, I have harvested bunches on five or six different occasions, and given it to the goats both dried and fresh. They do seem to like it.
Additional helpful information is that they are given alfalfa pellets after they return from their browse, and they are given grains during the milking session.
Thank you so much for your thoughts and feedback!!!
I too would like to see Deborah's thoughts on natural parasite control but can share what seems to have worked for us. After several years of worm battles we have found a combination of tools that individually seem trivial, but in combination they seem to be very effective (or we are just lucky now). Low herd size for the paddock, not letting any part of a paddock turn to bare dirt (we even move the water daily), wormwood(and other herbs) drench, copper bolus, every paddock gets at least a month before goats are on it again(maybe this time breaks the worm/egg cycle?), but it does get chickens and ducks, although I'm not convinced they would have much effect on worm eggs. All the goats get their eye lids checked every couple of days, but all we are seeing lately is nice pink/salmon colored lids.
C. E. Rice
Location: Outside Detroit, MI
posted 4 years ago
Kurt, thank you! I had meant to add the point, and you reminded me.
We do have chickens, it's mostly been chicks lately that are about three months old,
They really peck and scratch around a lot, and spend a fair amount of time in the goat pen area.
On hot days, they love to lounge around on the hay in the bedding stall.
Wouldn't chickens, scratching and exposing stuff and helping it to dry out, make it harder for the parasite larva to survive?
Thanks again, and looking forward to Deborah's response.
There was an academic study using micronized onion and coconut flakes. The study was on sheep and horses. I cant remember the name I had a friend download it from ebsco host for me. But it was pretty successful. We haven't tried it on our goats, but it did really good on our milk cow. And has no withdrawal time, other then the milk tasting like onion. So make garlic butter or a cheese that goes good with onion.
Another thing to think about is mineral supplementation. Pat Coleby has a good natural recipe. Keeping sulphur levels up helps so you can feed garlic though not too much as an excess can cause other problems. Also making sure they have sufficient copper
Definitely an area of interest for me, I do not want to medicate any more than is needed with my animals. I believe in natural solutions for myself and for my critters as well.....unless I get hit by a truck, they by all means, take me to a hospital but for anything else I treat it naturally or see my naturopath chiropractor for advice. Any natural solutions for my animals would be very appreciated. One of the two I brought home is pregnant, not sure on the other but that one is definitely needing some weight on her and their coats are dull. I am obsessively researching on what to feed and how to treat issues with them. and again, welcome Deborah, I have so enjoyed your book and will definitely re-read it many times over. I am not here to win a book so if I get drawn can I get a note or card to put in as my bookmark and let someone else have the book?? lol
Kurt has a lot of great practices to help reduce parasites!
When it comes to parasites, there is no magic bullet -- not even a modern drug! A vet professor told me about ten years ago that no one would ever get total control of worms by using dewormers. It has to be a multi-pronged approach. She also said it's impractical to think that you will ever have goats with zero worms. Since then I've learned that zero worms would not even be desirable. Parasites in the goat would not exist if it were not for goats. If the goat dies, the parasite dies because it can only live in the goat, so these two species have traveled through time together to co-exist. The parasites are probably doing something positive, even though we have no idea what. From a biodynamic perspective, some speculate that they act as aerators in the rumen just as earthworms aerate the soil. Hmm ... food for thought! So, our goal should not be to eradicate the worms, which is basically the mindset of the pharmaceutical companies. Worms only become a problem when the load gets to be too high, which generally happens with overgrazing, or when an animal is already being stressed by something else, such as birth or moving to a new farm.
Various things that research has proven to be effective -- rotational grazing, multi-species grazing, copper oxide wire particles, tannin plants, and papaya seeds.
Pasture rotation is really important to keeping your goats from having a problem with parasites. We had zero problems the first two years we had goats because we didn't have very many goats. I used absolutely nothing for those first two years and thought everyone was just wasting their money on dewormers. Then I had a goat die, and the necropsy showed parasites as the cause. The problem was that we had too many goats on the pasture, and they were re-ingesting too much larvae, so the burden in their guts became too big.
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that is definitely true with goats. Once you get your nutrition and management figured out, you will have very few problems.
Unfortunately the week after the book went to press, a study was released on using papaya seeds as a dewormer. I was super excited about that, so next time one of my goats had a parasite overload, I ran out and bought a papaya! The dosage used in the study was 10 grams per day for 10 days. I quickly learned that a papaya only had about 30 grams of seeds in it, and three days of seeds didn't do anything to reduce my goat's parasite level, and unfortunately I live an hour away from a store that sells papaya seeds. But if you live in an area where papayas are readily available, you might want to give this a try. Here is an article that gives a few more details: http://news.ifas.ufl.edu/2013/06/ufifas-expert-promising-results-from-papaya-for-parasite-plagued-goats/
There have been more than a dozen studies done showing the effectiveness of copper oxide wire particles (COWP) in reducing parasite loads in goats. Also, a goat that is copper deficient will have a much harder time dealing with a "normal" load of parasites, so the copper serves two important functions when it comes to parasite control. A lot of the studies were also done on sheep, and they never had a case of toxicity in the sheep, so as long as you don't overdose, you shouldn't have to worry about toxicity in goats (who can handle at least 4 times as much copper as sheep) when using COWP. A word of warning about copper -- there is a popular herbal book out there that recommends using copper sulfate for worms. Copper sulfate is much better absorbed into the system than copper oxide, and the only copper toxicity case study I could find in the literature was in a herd that was using a cattle mineral with 3000 ppm copper sulfate in it. Also, I've met several people online who've had goats die when they gave them copper sulfate for worms, so it's better to stick with the copper oxide, which is what has been used in the studies. They dosed at 1 gram per 20 pounds.
C. E. Rice
Location: Outside Detroit, MI
posted 4 years ago
Deborah, thank you so much for answering my question.
I read the excerpt from your book with the link that you provided, thank you that is very helpful. Copper is something that I had read and been told about before, and I have read the labels when choosing which bag of feed or grain I give them, but I think I need to look at it a little bit more as well.
Also I think I'll be sure and get some more Seriza Lespedeza.
I hope to win your book, but I will be trying to budget for it also if my luck doesn't bring it my way.
Thanks again for being here and helping us all along!!!
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