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:
If these practices are not practical then consider feedlotting and ensure that feeders and waterers are designed to avoid faecal contamination.
Whether the paddock is for kidding does or for weaned kids 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 Factors contributing to pasture contamination to find out how long you need to prepare your paddock.
March and April: Prevent contamination with goat worm eggs by either spelling these paddocks, grazing with cattle or horses or grazing with goats or sheep for up to 3 weeks after the protection period of a drench proven effective on your property.
May, June, July and August: In some areas (e.g. tablelands), any stock including goats can be grazed because it is consistently cold enough (mean daily maximum temperatures below 18°C) to almost stop the life cycle of the major roundworms (barber’s pole worm and black scour worm*). In warmer areas, continue to use the ’March–April’ strategy in those months where mean daily maximum temperatures are above 18°C.
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.
*Some development of black scour worms may occur until maximum temperatures fall below 15°C, but in this region barber’s pole worm control is the more important consideration.
An alternative method of kidding paddock preparation is ‘Smart-Grazing’, see Smart grazing to control barber’s pole worm in lambing ewes.
For early autumn kidding, only 3 months preparation is required as larvae die faster in the preceding hotter months. Goats can be grazed on the kidding paddocks in any months when mean daily maximum temperatures are below 18°C.
In late spring and summer, larvae on pasture die faster than in the cooler months, so preparation of weaning paddocks takes about half the time required for spring kidding paddocks.
In the 3 months prior to weaning: Prevent contamination with goat worm eggs by spelling these paddocks, grazing with cattle or horses (especially to stop pasture from becoming rank) or grazing with goats up to 3 weeks after the protection period1 of a drench known (from a DrenchTest) to be effective on your property.
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.