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WormBoss worm control program for goats

Qld central and south and NSW northwest


 



Grazing management

Sheep and goats carry the same worms and when grazed together goats carry heavier worm burdens than do sheep, especially in the absence of browse. It is best to not run sheep and goats together, except in the pastoral zone where worms are not as important and where goats have access to browse, which they prefer. If you do run both goats and sheep in higher rainfall zones, run goats on different areas of the property from sheep. Goats also share common worms with alpacas. Goats can be successfully run with horses and cattle.

NOTE: goats can also be infected by the brown stomach worm (Ostertagia ostertagi) from cattle, unlike the situation with sheep and lambs. Use adult cattle that are resistant to worms.

Grazing management techniques that reduce the exposure of goats to worms are based on these four steps:

  • Avoid grazing on paddocks heavily contaminated with worm larvae.
  • Reduce contamination of paddocks with worm eggs.
  • Allow time for most of the eggs and larvae on the pasture to die.
  • Where possible, provide adequate browse.

If these practices are not practical then consider feedlotting and ensure that feeders and waterers are designed to avoid faecal contamination.

Which goats are most susceptible to worms?

  • Weaners in the months after weaning until about 18 months of age, when they develop a higher level of worm immunity. Paddocks used by young goats should be of the highest quality pasture as the first priority, ideally they should also be of low worm-risk. Bucks remain as susceptible as young goats.
  • Late pregnant and lactating does are highly susceptible to worms as their worm immunity is reduced in late pregnancy and through early lactation. This can contribute to the seasonal increase in worm numbers and later infection of kids at foot.
  • Adult or not lactating (dry) goats remain susceptible to worms as their immunity develops more slowly than it does in sheep, and is often incomplete.
  • Rangeland goats moving into higher rainfall areas are highly susceptible to worms as they have little experience of worm infection and hence their immunity is poorly developed. Paddocks used by these goats should be of low worm-risk.


How are low worm-risk kidding and weaner paddocks prepared?

Whether the paddock is for kidding does or for weaners the method of preparation is the same. However, the length of preparation will vary according to the time of the year the paddock first needs to be used. Refer to Table 1 (below) to find out how long you need to prepare your paddock.

Preparing low worm-risk paddocks

In the months before the paddock is required for use for kidding or weaning, prevent contamination of the paddock with goat worm eggs by any combination of these:

  • Spell paddocks from goats*
  • Graze with cattle or horses
  • Grow browse, crops, hay or new pastures
  • Graze with goats or sheep treated with an effective drench for up to 3 weeks after the end of the protection period (when it is killing worms).

*Where goats are referred to, include sheep and alpacas, as they can carry goat worms. While cattle also carry some goat worms, adult cattle tend to have very low burdens and contribute very little to contamination of pastures with worms affecting goats.

Table 1. Months of preparation required for low worm-risk paddocks

The first month weaning or kidding starts

Eastern areas of NSW & southern Qld*

Western areas of NSW & southern Qld**

Central Highlands of Qld***

July, August, September or October

5

4

3

November or December

4

3

2.5

January, February, March or April

3

2

2

May or June

4

3

2.5

*includes towns such as Narrabri, Moree, Warwick and Dalby
**includes towns such as Nyngan, Walgett, St George and Mitchell
***includes towns north of Injune and Wandoan

Read Smart grazing to control barber’s pole worm in lambing ewes

Other ways to prepare low worm-risk paddocks

Other ways to prepare low barber’s pole worm-risk paddocks include rotational grazing with short graze periods alternated with sufficiently long rest periods which can greatly reduce the number of worm larvae on pasture, especially barber’s pole worm. Common watering points contained within small areas (e.g. up to 1 ha) that are grassed (i.e. not bare or gravel surface) should be avoided as these can become high worm-risk areas.  While these systems (e.g. planned grazing, cell grazing, techno-grazing and intensive rotational grazing) are outside the scope of this publication, they use the principles found in Factors contributing to paddock contamination with worms.