So why are we choosing to worm now, when we didn’t this spring? What changed? Besides the obvious, what were we still missing?
If we had known in advance how the summer would turn out would it have changed our minds? Maybe….
knowing your herd is going to be under a ton of stress would make you consider worming over not worming. What we would say is ‘try’ to look at the whole picture when deciding what is best for you and your herd. Are we still happy we didn’t worm this spring? You bet!!
However, we now had something else to take into consideration with ‘whether to worm or not’……….the stress all our does were under ALL summer long and breeding season quickly approaching…..how would our decision to NOT worm now effect our does AND our breeding plans? Makes you think, doesn’t it?
As we said, we had Nematodes twice before……..so what? Worms happen to everyone’s herd right? Well, there was something else we needed to consider….this Nematode, N. filicollis, comes from deer. Rep, you read it right…….our Nematode problem comes from our local deer population. When we have dealt with if before our herd had ZERO signs of sickness. The only thing we noticed was our goats started getting coarse. We thought at first their minerals needed to be adjusted. Only a fecal revealed what was going on. By the time we would have known we had a worm problem, we could have had a MAJOR problem......
Pretend you have wet, red paint on your feet or shoes. Everywhere you walk you leave a red sole/foot print. Now someone else comes along and walks through the wet paint, than they are also leaving a trail behind as well. That’s how easy it is to pass Cocci and Nematodes from farm to farm, or even from the Fair goat barn to your herd. Scary, isn’t it? Think about it next time you go out to your barn – wet paint, wet paint, wet paint. You will be surprised how many areas you never considered.
We also know that we started out with a high Cocci load. No rain, really hot, and the smoke from the fires all over the west made sure our goats (& us) were under a lot of stress. We also know that if we don’t take steps, re-infection is guaranteed. Now we’re coming into breeding season…………tough year. We also know that Nematodes can cause reproduction issues, kidding issues, and adds just more stress to our already stressed herd. With all that in mind, we felt our best call was to worm our herd. Yep, third time around for the same parasite problem. How did we get them again? What do we need to do besides worming? What are we missing?
Well here is the ‘been there, done that’ we are famous for. Because of the draught conditions we let our animals graze in an area that was not fenced off to prevent the deer from sharing their grazing/foraging. We thought the deer weren’t using it, we hadn’t seen them, but they were there. That simple. Wish getting rid of them was as easy as that………..but, alas no.
Now what? Timing is everything here, we know from our vet that you have a 5-7 day window to get it done or risk re-infection. So we had to worm when we knew we could clean the barn, etc.
The day we wormed we trimmed hooves, cleaned them out thoroughly. Next came the hard work ~wink~
We sterilized all the feeders, mineral holders, grain holders, etc. All the bedding was removed from the barn, especially under their feeders. Their paddocks were all raked to remove as much as we could.
RULE OF THUMB is that where ever a hard frost won’t touch needs to be sterilized. However, with our particular Nematode a hard frost isn’t enough ~sigh~
Both outside paddocks will have to be burned off in the spring or this fall if we can, until than they can’t go foraging in those areas. Their main paddock area had to be sprayed with Clorox. The barn also. Not what we want to do, of course Clorox isn’t organic. Not only will the Clorox kill the bad bugs, it will kill the ones you want! You know, the organisms that break down the fecal and urine waste………So be prepared to clean your barn again soon, and more often until the balance is restored. We have been doing some research in that department. Something all organic that you can make at home. So far we have had some amazing results, but we aren’t blogging about that just yet. We want to use is for a little bit more before we share it with you……….come on, you want our results too don’t you?
Needless to say, it is a lot of work. We won’t lie, we would rather not worm, but sometimes you have too for your herd. Hopefully, we won’t have this particular bug problem again………..we were pretty proud of our worming record.
Because this has happened again, we had to consider what are we missing? Besides the obvious of not grazing/foraging with the local deer.
We re-read Pat Coleby’s book, ‘Natural Goat Care’, our vet even called a specialist out of Australia. Both feel strongly that copper is key. We know that there is copper in Kelp, but with the iodine levels in kelp you have to make sure they don’t get too much. Copper sulfate used to be recommended for use in organic farming. However, copper sulfate will soon be banned by the European Commission. So we needed to find an organic or at least safer form of copper for our goats. Copper Bolus weren’t an option for us. Luckily we did find a supplement called Cu-Mix from Advanced Biological Concepts. It does have copper sulfate in it, but it also has a ton of organic plants and herbs as well. Throw in the non-GMO and we had to try it. We now offer it free choice, we notice that our darker colored goats eat more than our lighter colored ones ------- however, none are using it in excess.
So what is the lesson learned...........
Sometimes worming just isn’t enough.. Consider how it happened, think about why it happens (for us third times a charm) again and again. You don’t always have to worm, just because everyone does, but sometimes you have to make that call for your herd's health. What ever you decide, do your homework.......don't just take our word for it. Regardless of whether you choose to worm or not, don't risk your herd because of your choices.
Maybe our worming record will hold at 3…..we will find out won’t we?