I am not talking about the worms that are in the ground in our garden. I am talking about internal parasites that you need a microscope to see. A worm overload can kill a goat very quickly. They suck the blood of the goat internally till they are weak and anemic and die. Most often when someone calls me and says their goat is dying of pneumonia or is sick it is a secondary sickness brought on by a high parasite load that weakens the immune system. So the sickness is a secondary issues to the first, which is an untreated worm overload.
And if you do a "Google search" you will come up with many ways to worm. Some very complicated and some very simple. The complicated is often very expensive and the simple ways are not always going to work for your farm in the long run.
I am not an expert and any information you glean from this and apply, use at your own risk. But this is what I have learned over the years and works for us.
Goats eat brush and leaves off trees and weeds, their mouths in the wild are up away from the grass, so they don't pick up heavy worm loads. They also are always on the move. So don’t constantly eat where they are going to the bathroom re-ingesting worms. So goats in the wild usually don’t have worm issues unless they are immune compromised. We have turned, in most cases, our goats into grazers. As our properties are small and we could not grow enough browse to keep them fed.
I think it is wonderful and admirable to try to not use chemicals on our animals. But I have not found a way to keep my goats alive, if I was to try to use natural ways to keep them wormed. I have had so many people thru the years come to me for goats and for guidance and they choose to try to keep their goats wormed naturally and end up with dead goats quickly. They usually think it is working for some time. As things go along good for a year or so.(if they started out on a farm that never had goats before) But once the worm load on their pastures grows the goats start dying and it is sad. People use all kinds or natural means from on the internet. The only one I have tried that kind of worked was from Hoeggers. But I still ended up HAVING to go back to chemical wormers to bring my goats back to good health. As most things natural take longer to work and with a goat when they are down, time is of the essence. People also try” feed grade” diatomatious earth. (not pool chemical grade, that is toxic and will kill livestock and animals) One would need to get your goat to eat at least 1/4 cup a day of it for it to do any good at all, as they have so many stomachs and it is so big inside their rumen. I could not even hide a tablespoon of it in my goats feed before they would reject their feed and not eat it.
First off, I must say there are very few wormers out there labeled for goat use and the ones that are out there don’t work or don’t work well. So that leaves people with using wormer “off-label”. So in other words…..using cattle or horse wormer on a goat. Common wormers people use are Valbazon and Safeguard, (both of those are considered white wormers) And then there is Ivromecin injectable for cattle, that people use orally for goats or Cydectin pour on (yes the nasty purple stinky stuff for cattle) that people use orally for goats. Cydectin is the last resort wormer. As it is the last invented one that works and there is no new wormers being developed right now that work. So if you use Cydectin be careful not to over use it and make the worms on your property resistant to it!
As I said there are many ways to worm. Now, many people take a potty sample, from every goat they have,(think separate baggies labeled with which goat the potty came from in each one) to the vet for a parasite count before deworming. That is a very smart way to do it. But I can’t afford that. But the information they get back is very good. It tells If the goat needs to be wormed.(which ones) What the parasites are that it has, and then you will know what wormer to use to treat the worms, as certain wormers work on different types of worms. You don’t have to use something stronger than you need. Then after they put their goat up in a stall and treat their goat they take a new potty sample back in 2 weeks later to make sure it all worked. I have so many goats I can not afford to do that. Nor do I have the time to label baggies and stand at the south end of each goat following them around for a fresh sample. YIKES! Although I know of people who have bought their own microscope and floatation kit and learned to check it themselves.
What I have found is that most wormers have been terribly over used or not used properly over the years. And most worms have built up a tolerance to almost all the wormers we have on the market available to us. Some of the meat goat farmers have found the only way to keep their stock alive and growing to get them to market is to feed them wormer consistently all the time. Doing this quickly makes the chemical wormers we have available to us not work anymore. Whenever one worms their animal it kills a bunch of worms and some are affected but live. The ones that live get passed out onto the pasture and re-ingested and are more resistant to that wormer that was just used. Till it does not effect them at all anymore. So what happens over time is…..you see your goat has a worm over load. You use the wormer you always used and it worked every time you used it…….but all of a sudden this time it doesn’t work anymore and bam…dead goat…..to late. Your pastures will soon be covered in parasites to which there is no way to worm your goats and keep them well.
is put the goats I am going to worm, in a stall with no outdoor access. Deworm them and keep them in there for two days. They potty all the worms dead or not in the stall and I muck it out and put it on the compost heap. Which they have no access to. Then let them out on a clean pasture that has not been grazed for eight weeks. After they have been grazing on that pasture for about 8 weeks. I check them for worms by pulling down their lower eye lid. If it is white – danger- very anemic- deworm…if light pink-pretty bad -deworm - if mediam pink – I deworm if dark pink…I just put them into the new pasture that has not been grazed on for eight weeks. Rotating every eight weeks from pasture to pasture breaks the parasite cycle in many cases. And deworming before turning them out onto fresh pasture that has not been grazed in 8 weeks makes sure they are going out onto a pretty clean pasture. Checking eye lids shows me who needs worming and who does not. Just because one doe does, dosen't mean they all do. I have goats that hardly ever need worming and some that I have to worm every four months or so to keep them healthy. I often grazed ponies behind the goats on opposite rotation on our fields to" vaccum up" parasites as goats and ponies don’t share many of the same parasites. Then deworm the ponies in their stalls. I worm very carefully and still ivromectin does not work well here on my property anymore. Most likely because some goats I bought and brought here, were from farms that ivromectin did not work and any worms in the goats I bought, were passed onto my land and now….it doesn’t work well.
(if you have to deworm a bred doe, safe guard is the only wormer I know that can safely be used on pregnant goats) Then I deworm them the day they kid. As the stress of labor and delivery can cause a worm spike. Also, we can’t drink the milk for one week anyways as it has colostrum in it. It takes a week for the colostrums and wormer to be out of the milk and then we can drink it. And doing it that way I usually don’t have to worm while my goat is in milk. It is an awful thing to me to have to deworm while a goat is in milk, as one has to dump the milk for five days before drinking it again. A waste to me. Even though we feed it to chickens and dogs and cats when that happens.
They are not under as much stress as does bodies are and I usually don’t have worm issues with my bucks.
loads to copper deficiency. They found that goats that were low in copper had much higher worm loads than the others. And that if they got their copper levels up the worm load went down. Even when not worming them with anything. Now I am just sharing this with you all so you can look it up and read about it if interested. As it might answer a trouble someone might have in keeping their goats wormed. Copper is toxic if to much is given. But we are so low here I have to feed a goat feed high in copper, have out loose minerals for goats high enough in copper and copper bolus my goats twice a year to keep them healthy, keep their coats looking good and them having good deliveries. Anyways, just wanted to share that often parasites and deficient diet can go hand in hand.
Blessings and happy farming,