Goats have not been dewormed since 1994 By An Peischel ©2020 (Fifth in a series)

I feel compelled to discuss internal parasitism due to the many phone calls I’ve received recently. It has been exceptionally hot with high humidity and lots of rain the past six months here in Tennessee. I have been raising meat goats for the past 35 years. My Kiko pro- duction mob has not been dewormed since 1994.

I started out in Hawaii (the Big Island) — managing someone

else’s 700 Spanish meat goats (a breed adapted to a hot, arid, dry cli- mate). Hawaii is a tough environment for raising goats with 64” of rain a year, near the ocean, tropical grasses of poor quality — there is no dead time for internal parasites. This was an unhealthy poorly managed mob to begin with: they had internal parasites, footrot, foot scald, foot abscesses, Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) and Ca- seous Lymphadenitis (CL). I got very tired of burying goats. It took some drastic measures (and perseverance) to bring the initial mob out of this downward spiral of unhealthy and into a health- based mob with a functioning immune system. • I sorted off the goats that were “not quite so bad” and culled the ones with the most problems.

• I moved those “not quite so bad” into brush, the highest I could

find. The higher the head, the lower the (internal parasite) load. • I continuously rotated/moved them around onto fresh/dense/high brush. This is when a great working border collie shines. And that’s when the utilization of portable solar powered elec- tric fencing using tread-in posts became the best ever invention. Cre- ativity in fencing allows: 1) maximum utilization of forage, allowing

plants to rest before re-grazing/browsing; 2) allocation of forage based upon quality or physical condition of the goats; 3) ability to manage plant species and 4) maintain a healthy environment for di- versity of vegetation and goats — a symbiotic relationship. A t the same time I began changing grazing/browsing management, I setup a vegetation monitoring system and a browse management chart. I took fecal egg counts (FEC) several times a week (which was overly cautious, but I really wanted to know what was going on). As things improved, I took FEC once a week, and also figured out what internal parasites we were dealing with. At that time, Haemonchus contortus, Trichostrongyloides,

Strongyloides, and Cooperia were present. I checked individual goats (a minimum of 10 per 100 head of goats); if levels were about 500 eggs per gram (epg), we were doing OK, and then monitored FEC once a week.

I also drew blood to evaluate packed cell volume (PCV). I

didn’t have equipment to spin down the blood, so I just let the vacu- tainer tubes sit until the serum separated from the red blood cells. Then I looked at the proportions: if I saw half serum and half red blood cells, then we had a problem. I needed to see more red blood cells (3/4 red blood cells and only 1/4 serum). An easier way to assess anemia is to look at eyes (FAMACHA — although we didn’t know about the FAMACHA system at that time) and gums. Pale mucous membranes indicate anemia; we wanted to see a healthy bright pink color. Visit www.FAMACHA (there is a color chart for anemia evaluation you can download and use). If goats were in bad shape (based on anemia), I put them in a Please see PEISCHEL, Page 35

6 Goat Rancher | September 2020

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