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Deworming a goat without dewormers

Pregnant goat
Unfortunately, that dose of Safe-Guard really knocked Artemesia's guts out of whack. As I mentioned in a previous post, the dewormer killed all of the threadworms...but paved the way for an infestation of another parasite that my extension agent IDed through email as the dreaded barberpole worm. Barberpole worms are resistant to common over-the-counter dewormers, so my options as I saw the parasites' numbers rise consisted of either contacting a vet or seeking further options.

Ragwort and new spring grass

Round goat bellyI figured I'd first try seeking further options. Initial item on the agenda: refresh the mineral and kelp feeders...again. Artemesia's belly has gotten so round that it's tough for her to stick her neck over the edge of the mineral feeders, which I only realized when she started asking me to hand feed her kelp after her daily meals. (Yes, of course I complied.) Once she was able to easily reach inside again, she started scarfing the stuff like it was candy.

That should have clued me in about the need for option C, but I instead turned to Molly's Herbal Goat Dewormer (the safe-for-pregnancy version). Artemesia scarfed her first dose down quite nicely mixed with molasses and I soon started seeing a better look to her fur and eyelids. Of course, I was doubling down on her minerals at the same time (and haven't yet done a followup fecal analysis), so don't have a clear idea what caused the effect and if the barberpole worms are indeed on the decline.

Molasses on a bolus

While waiting to catch a fresh poop sample, I also ordered some copper boluses (the 2 gram version since Artemesia isn't quite big enough to get the full-size-goat pills). I could write for hours about the pros and cons of boluses, but here's the cliff notes version:

  • Goats require lots of copper and boluses seem to be more effective than either kelp or mineral mixtures at getting that copper in their system.
  • Goats low on copper tend to be high on parasites.
  • But boluses scared me away initially because you're really supposed to shoot the pill down the goat's throat with a bolus gun. Yikes!

Further perusal of the internet, though, suggested that as long as those little wires go down the gullet without too much chewing, they seem to stay in the rumen just where they're supposed to, gun or no gun. Unfortunately, my method of dipping the pill in molasses only succeeded in turning our goat a little sweeter as she licked off the goop and then spat out the bolus. After a trip to the store, we'll move on to the internet's low-tech solution --- marshmallows.

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Put the bolus between your first two fingers and stick them down here throat.The other hand is to keep here from biting to hard. Eventualy they will swallow and down it goes. It's harder with a cow cause they are stronger.
Comment by wewally Thu Apr 14 13:00:56 2016

I mix the little rods in with a peanut butter/oatmeal/honey ball and my goats gobble it up. They don't like it as well when I put the selenium gel in it, though. When is Artemisia due?

Comment by Another Julie Thu Apr 14 19:24:17 2016

Wewally --- That sounds like a good option...if a little scary. :-)

Another Julie --- I like your version even better! Do you feel like they swallow the balls pretty well without chewing up the rods that way?

To answer your's complicated. If Artemesia's gestation period matches her father's lineage (Nigerian), then she's due on the 21. If it matches her mother's lineage (Nubian), then she' due on the 26th. Since we set up Abigail's butcher date for the 25th, you can guess which one we're counting on. :-) Either way --- soon!

Comment by anna Fri Apr 15 09:43:47 2016

OH yes, they swallow the balls without even tasting them. But then, my goats will go out in the rain for oats and peanut butter! ;)

I hope Artemisia kids when you want her to. And I hope all goes smoothly. She's such a lovely little goat.

Comment by Another Julie Fri Apr 15 19:04:51 2016

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime