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Lessons learned from chemical goat deworming

Anemone goat

As usual with goats and worms, the result of my second fecal analysis on Artemesia was a case of good news/bad news.

First freshenerThe good news is that the worms that were really overloading her --- thread worms --- had a 100% kill rate from Safe-guard. I still feel the kid(s) kicking in her belly on a regular basis too, so hopefully the supposedly safe dewormer really did have no negative effects on her pregnancy.

The bad news is that the other species present (possibly twisted stomach worm) wasn't killed at all, meaning that it's resistant to this common dewormer. In fact, that species' numbers might have risen slightly after the dewormer reduced competition for Artemesia's gut space. At 21 eggs in one slide from four pellets during round two, the other worm's populations are right on the edge of dangerous...but I'll take a wait-and-see approach there and test again in a week.

Manure alley

With 20/20 hindsight, here's what I've learned from my first foray into chemical dewormers:

  • Identify your worm eggs to species every time you do a fecal exam and then do your counts by species. I wish I had real data (not just a gut feeling) on whether or not the second worm species increased in numbers post deworming.
  • Would a probiotic supplement after deworming have prevented the rise of worm species two? I don't know, but it's worth a try.
  • Clean out the barn before deworming. I don't want to use the manure that fell post-deworming in the vegetable garden in the near future, so I gave our most recent barn cleaning its own composting zone. The trouble is, I hadn't cleaned out the barn for in a few weeks beforehand, so I "lost" more organic matter than I would have liked in the process.

Live and learn!

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Experience Is Something You Don't Get Until Just After You Need It.
Comment by NaYan Tue Mar 22 08:26:10 2016
According to this Dutch language website, moxidectin works against haemonchus contortus, and no resistance against it has been found.
Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Mar 22 16:58:31 2016

Dewormers are "safe" because they are not absorbed into the circulation to any great extent. Those used for humans are the same ones used for livestock.

The best way to avoid (at least, slow down) resistance, whether we're talking about worms, bacteria, weeds, etc, is to use two agents at once. Eg: if natural resistance already in the population is one in a million for each agent, then the chances that any single bug is resistant to both is 1 in a million millions. (10^-6 x 10^-6= 10^-12)

Comment by doc Thu Mar 24 07:41:11 2016

Roland --- The tricky part at the moment is choosing dewormers that are not only effective but also safe during pregnancy. I'm going to do another fecal analysis this weekend, but I'm hoping to be able to leave Artemesia's guts alone until after she kids. Then, if necessary, we can pull out the big guns.

Doc --- Well, they can be safe for humans while still wreaking havoc on the garden ecosystem. That's what I'm most concerned about when it comes to using them in the garden. I've worked hard to get my microbes in balance --- don't want to throw them off!

Good idea on the double dewormer technique, though.

Comment by anna Thu Mar 24 18:48:47 2016

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