There is no simple answer to this. Some farmers will deworm monthly. Others, like me, only deworm when there is a positive fecal. Should you deworm your goats? I will tell you to have a fecal run to see if you need to rather than deworming blindly. The overuse of dewormer has caused a lot of issues with parasite loads.
Every goat has worms. Period. It is not necessarily a bad thing for goats to have them. The issue is when the goat becomes stressed like with labor, travel or when you are in a high parasite area. Georgia has an insane parasite load, especially in the summer and worms will kill your goat. The treatment for that is dewormer. It really is a vicious cycle.
The main parasites in my area, and we deal with commonly, are Barber Pole, Coccidia, and lung worms. What happens is that the worm is shed when the goat poops. It then attaches to grass or browse and when the goat eats the grass or browse, they get re-infected with worms. Goats will naturally not eat grass or browse that is too short unless there is no other option. They usually eat down to about 4-6 inches and then will move on. This will expose the worm larvae and the sun should kill it.
Unfortunately, if you are not rotating your pastures often enough or feeding on the ground, you will get your goats sick. The sun will not have enough time to kill the larvae or worms themselves and you will end up back in the same boat you were in before. So the best way to stop this cycle is to allow 90 days between each pasture to allow the grass or browse to get tall enough for the goats to eat it. Sometimes this isn’t possible but do the best you can, even if it’s just between two pastures.
Why you shouldn’t deworm every month
Just like with antibiotics, you should only use dewormers if necessary. The more you use antibiotics, whether for yourself or your livestock, the less likely they are to work. Every sniffle doesn’t require antibiotics. It’s the same way with dewormers.
If you over use a dewormer, the dewormer simply will not work as effectively as before. Since so many goat farmers have overused dewormer, we are already at this point. Now, we have to use two different dewormers over the course of several days or weeks to get the same results.
We use cydectin and safe guard at the same time, and have had good results. But again, I will only treat for worms with a positive fecal. Normally, I do fecals every quarter unless I see low FAMACHA, poor body condition, or other sign that they need one sooner. There will come a time when those dewormers are no longer effective. I’ve actually talked to some goat people in other parts of the country that have said that those dewormers are not longer effective for them either.
So What Do We Do?
The best thing that we could possibly do is stop the unnecessary use of dewormers. Stop deworming every single month and start running fecals to see if your herd truly needs to be dewormed. Our fecals run us $22 for a herd fecal through the vet. If your comfortable with a microscope, eager to learn, or got some cash to burn you can get a microscope, mcmaster slides, solution, and 1cc syringes for about $220 depending on where you are. There is also a really in depth video on YouTube that is pretty informative.
We also learn how to do herd checks and FAMACHA tests to make sure they are healthy. When you are used to seeing them “normal” it is very easy to tell when they are sick. We have a book that we keep updated with any treatments done, fecals and results and more.
You can see the pages that we use here on our product page. This really helps us keep up with who is gaining/losing weight, when vaccines are due, and so much more. We keep it in our livestock binder to keep everything on hand.
At the end of the day, you have to choose what is right for your animal. I am not here to tell you otherwise. I just want to tell you what we do and why we do it. I strongly disagree with the overuse of medication of any form, however, I am not afraid to use it when necessary. Necessary being the key and most important word.
How Often Do You Worm Your Herd?
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