The overall objective of the proposed research was to determine the efficacy of non-chemical/natural means of parasite control (pumpkin seeds, garlic, ginger, and papaya seeds) in small ruminants to provide research-based information for producers. The specific objectives were therefore to 1) to determine the efficacy of pumpkin seeds, garlic, ginger, and papaya seeds in controlling internal parasites in small ruminants, and 2) to educate producers about natural dewormers and integrated parasite management (FAMACHA, fecal egg counting, and pasture management). The project was conducted at Delaware State University’s Farm and also on two producer farms in DE and MD.
During year one, (in collaboration with Univ. of Maryland Eastern Shore), naturally infected crossbred goats and crossbred hair sheep lambs were fed diets containing pumpkin seeds and/or garlic and levels of parasitism (fecal egg counts and packed cell volume) and growth monitored. The influence of both natural dewormers on meat quality was determined.
During year two, naturally infected goat kids were drenched orally with pumpkin seed, papaya seed or ginger drench solutions and levels of parasitism (fecal egg counts, packed cell volume and larval identification) and growth were measured and recorded. The influence of both natural dewormers on meat quality were to be determined, however, meat samples were lost when the freezer went down over a school break. In addition, two Integrated Parasite Management (IPM) workshops were held at both Delaware State University (DSU) and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) in summer 2009 to educate small ruminant producers on the efficacy of natural dewormers and IPM techniques.
During year three, in collaboration with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, goat kids were fed a pelleted feed with mixed in pumpkin seeds fed at two levels (3.2 oz/lb and 1.6 oz/lb) to test their efficacy on reducing fecal egg counts. Instead of waiting on a natural infection, animals were inoculated with parasite larvae to ensure infection. The influence of both natural dewormers on meat quality was determined at North Carolina State University.
During year four, twenty-six artificially inoculated Katahdin lambs and twenty-two kids (mixed sex), were used to determine the effect of a pumpkin seed oil drench (2.0 ml/kg body weight) on body weight, packed cell volume and fecal egg counts. An extension was requested during the final year to finalize objectives in milestones 3 and 4 of the proposal.
During the one-year extension, experiments assessing the impact of pumpkin seeds on fecal egg counts, FAMACHA scores, and body weights in lambs (MD) and goats (DE) were conducted on two producer farms. In addition, two workshops/field visits were organized to report the results from these experiments as well as other pumpkin seed studies conducted previously. The workshop organized in MD (sheep farm) was cancelled due to weather and low registration.
A product of this project was research based findings on the effectiveness of four natural dewormers that will assist producers in making informed decisions about the use of these products in their on-arm internal parasite control regime. Other products include newsletter articles, scientific abstracts, posters, at least 20 farms using alternative/non-chemical parasite control strategies, and 4 new farms involved in the use of pumpkin seeds for the sustainable control of internal parasites in goats and lambs. A PDF document on project results is being worked on to be distributed via email, website and future Integrated Parasite Management (IPM) workshops. Two peer-reviewed scientific articles are also being prepared for publication in Veterinary Parasitology and Journal of Extension.
Several studies have reported that small ruminant production can be a profitable enterprise and that the apparent market demand for sheep and goat meat in the United States exceeds the supply. However, infections with internal parasites create a threat to the sheep and goat industry as it is the number one health problem faced by producers worldwide. Traditionally, parasite infections were controlled in herds by the use of broad-spectrum anthelmintics which were administered in some cases every 2-3 weeks. Due to the overuse and misuse of available dewormers, there have been reports of increased resistance selection for internal parasites of sheep and goats throughout the world indicating that alternatives to chemical dewormers are needed.
Several plants have anthelmintic properties, and were in fact a part of the conventional husbandry before synthetic dewormers were commonly adopted. For instance, garlic (Allium sativum) has been used medicinally worldwide for many centuries and it has been suggested that garlic controls parasites by preventing the eggs of certain parasites from developing into larvae. Specifically, garlic might be effective in reducing Haemonchus contortus (barber pole worm) and coccidia, two of the most devastating internal parasites in small ruminants. In addition to garlic, the seeds of squash, pumpkins and many other vine crops contain a deworming compound called cucurbitacin. Ginger (Asarum canadense), also has previously been used as an anthelmintic purge for cattle and horses, however, there is limited data and no producer results could be found using this natural plant. Papaya (Carica papaya) contains many biologically active compounds and has been found to decrease fecal egg counts in pigs. Even though there are several plants that have been widely used for controlling internal parasites in ruminants, there is no hard data available on the efficacy of their uses. Therefore, these experiments were conducted to verify their efficacy and provide producers with research-based information.
Because meat flavor is an important part of the consumer selection process and feed additives are known to impact meat flavor, the impact of these natural plant dewormers on meat taste were evaluated to determine whether or not they could influence consumer’s perceptions.
Fifteen small ruminant producers will decrease reliance on chemical dewormers through the use of an alternative natural dewormer and/or other IPM practices such as the use of FAMACHA and fecal egg counting for parasite control in their flocks.
The specific objectives of the project were to 1) to determine the efficacy of pumpkin seeds, garlic, ginger, and papaya seeds in controlling internal parasites in small ruminants, and 2) to educate producers about natural dewormers and integrated parasite management (FAMACHA, fecal egg counting, and pasture management). The performance target for the project was 15 small ruminant producers decreasing reliance on chemical dewormers through the use of alternative natural dewormers and/or other IPM practices such as the use of FAMACHA and fecal egg counting for parasite control in their flocks.
Many producers were interested in the work and four (see Appendix 1 for list) are attempting to use pumpkin seeds as part of their parasite control regime. One producer has reported that the use of pumpkin seeds with other IPM practices (such as pasture rotation and resistance selection) has led to no dewormings in the last three years. There has also been a lot of interest in the use of pumpkin seeds from producers via emails and phone calls.
In ten experiments, the efficacy of pumpkin seeds, papaya, ginger and garlic in controlling internal parasites in small ruminants were evaluated. In all experiments, individual fecal samples were used to determine fecal egg counts using the Modified McMaster’s technique and pooled samples were used for larval identification. Blood samples were used to determine packed cell volumes (PCV) as in indication of anemia due to possible barber pole worm infection. In some experiments, FAMACHA scores were used instead of PCV to determine the degree of anemia in individual animals. In all studies conducted, study animals were dewormed and removed if PCVs were less than 15% or if FAMACHA scores were 4’s and 5’s or 3’s with other visual signs of parasitism (diarrhea, weight loss, rough hair coat, bottle jaw, etc.). Treated animals were removed from the study and the number dewormed per group was recorded.
In experiment one, twenty-two meat goat kids were used to evaluate the effect of pumpkin seeds in reducing parasite loads. Goats were individually penned on solid concrete floors and received a commercially pelleted meat goat feed daily for a three-week study. Eleven animals were given ground pumpkin seeds mixed into feed at a rate of six ounces/75 lbs of body weight. The other eleven were not supplemented and used as a control. Body weights, fecal samples (individual) and blood samples were collected weekly during the three-week study period.
Experiment two was conducted to determine the effectiveness of a single dose of garlic juice in reducing fecal egg counts in grazing meat goat kids. Twenty-three crossbred Boer goat kids were used in this fecal egg count reduction study. Initial fecal samples were collected from all animals on the study and twelve received garlic juice while the remaining 11 were left untreated. Seven days following treatment, final fecal samples were collected to determine percentage reduction in parasite eggs.
Experiment three was done at UMES where eighteen Katahdin ewe lambs were placed in individual pens on slatted floors and given either garlic juice (8 lambs) or water (8 lambs) daily for 3 weeks. Body weights, fecal samples and blood samples were collected weekly during the three-week period.
Experiment four included thirty naturally infected Boer crossbred kids (mixed sex) assigned randomly and treated (n = 10/treatment) with water (control), 6 ounces pumpkin seed drench/75lbs (PUM) or 3g ginger/kg (GIN). Treatments were administered orally to individually penned animals (4 x 4 ft) every other day starting at d 0 and ending on d 42 to determine effects on body weights, fecal egg counts, packed cell volume, and larval identification. All treatment groups received a 15% pelleted ration for goats (Southern States) fed at 3% of their BW daily for the study period of 6 weeks. At the end of the study, all animals were slaughtered and abomasal worm samples were collected for worm counting. In addition, loin samples were frozen to determine the impact of pumpkin seeds and ginger on meat quality.
Experiment five was conducted at UMES, where 22 naturally infected Boer crossbred kids (20 kg) were randomly assigned and treated (n = 12/treatment) with water (control) or 6g papaya seeds /kg body weight diluted in water. Treatments were administered orally to individually penned animals every other day starting at day 0 and ending on day 21 to determine effects on body weights and fecal egg counts. All treatment groups received a 15% pelleted ration for goats (Southern States) fed at 3% of their BW daily for the study period of 3 weeks. At the end of the study, all animals were slaughtered and loin samples were frozen to determine the impact of papaya seeds on meat quality.
In experiment six, in collaboration with UMES, 30 artificially infected Boer crossbred kids (30 kg) were randomly assigned and treated (n = 10/treatment) with a 14% pelleted diet (control) or one of two diets with different levels of pumpkin seed (3.2 oz/lb and 1.6 oz/lb) mixed in. Animals were fed at approximately 2% BW for 3 weeks not including an adjustment period. Body weights, fecal samples, and blood samples were taken weekly for the study period. At the end of the study, all animals were slaughtered and loin samples were frozen to determine the impact of pumpkin seeds on meat quality.
For experiment seven, twenty-six artificially inoculated Katahdin lambs (mixed sex), approximately 8-10 months of age were used to determine the effect of a pumpkin seed oil drench on body weight, PCV, and fecal egg counts (FEC). Lambs were placed into individual 4 x 4 ft pens on solid concrete floors and randomly assigned to treatments of water (CON; n=10), 0.9ml/lb BW pumpkin seed oil once every week (PUM1; n=9), or 0.9ml/lb BW pumpkin seed oil divided equally over 3 doses in one week (PUM2; n=7). All treatment groups received a 16% CP meat lamb feed fed at approximately 3% of their BW daily. Body weight, blood and fecal samples were collected weekly for 28 d.
In experiment eight, twenty-two naturally infected Boer crossbred meat goat kids were also used to determine the effect of a pumpkin seed oil drench on body weight, PCV and FEC. Kids were placed into individual 4 x 4 ft pens on solid concrete floors and randomly assigned to treatments of water (CON; n=11), or 0.9 ml/lb BW pumpkin seed oil (PUM1; n=11) every other day for 35 days. All treatment groups received a 15% pelleted ration for goats (Southern States) fed at 3% of their BW daily. Body weight, blood and fecal (pooled by treatment group and individual) samples were collected weekly for the 35 days.
Two producer studies were done for experiments nine and ten. In experiment nine (sheep farm in MD), we separated 22 Katahdin lambs into two groups and placed each group into separate adjacent paddocks. The two groups included a pumpkin seed group (PUMP; ?6 ounces of pumpkin seed/75 lbs of body weight) of 12 lambs and a control or untreated (CON) group of 10 lambs. Lambs in the pumpkin seed group were offered 12 split pumpkins each morning. It was assumed that each pumpkin contained 5.5 – 6 ounces of pumpkin seeds. At the beginning of the study, body weights, FAMACHA© scores and fecal samples (individual and pooled) were collected. The next sampling was done 2 weeks later (day 14) and then every seven days for a total of 28 days.
In experiment ten (goat farm in DE), we separated 15 meat goats into two groups and placed each group into separate paddocks. The two groups included a pumpkin seed group (PUM; ?6 ounces of pumpkin seed/75 lbs of body weight) of five does and one kid and a control or untreated (CON) group of 8 does and 1 kid. Goats in the pumpkin seed group were offered 8 split pumpkins each day. It was assumed that each pumpkin contained 5.5 – 6 ounces of pumpkin seeds. At the beginning of the study, body weights, FAMACHA© scores and fecal samples (individual and pooled) were collected. The next sampling was done one week later (day 7) and then every seven days for a total of 28 days, with the exception of day 14 due to weather.
In addition to these 10 experiments, two workshops were held on Integrated Parasite Management including the use of natural dewormers and one on-farm producer workshop was held on a goat farm in Delaware.
Milestones for this project were: 1) flyers will be mailed to 100 sheep and goat producers in the Mid-Atlantic area on alternative/novel methods of parasite control strategies and integrated parasite management (use of FAMACHA©, pasture management, and fecal egg counts); 2) seventy producers will respond to the flyer and attend a workshop on alternative/novel methods of parasite control strategies and integrated parasite management (use of FAMACHA©, pasture management, and fecal egg counts); 3) Forty producers will attend a second workshop on the efficacy of natural dewormers as determined by research conducted at DSU; 4) two producers from MD and DE will evaluate the use of one or more natural dewormer by conducting on-farm experiments to determine the effectiveness and practicality of effective plant dewormers as determined in years one and two at DSU; 5) thirty producers will visit on-farm sites for results sessions. Research and field results will be summarized and distributed to sheep and goat producers.
Milestones one to three were accomplished in years 1, 2 and 3 where at least 30 regional producers learned fecal egg counting and/or FAMACHA© to use on their farms and at least 20 reduced their reliance on chemical dewormers. The IPM workshops are always very popular and one was recently requested by a group of Delaware producers. It is anticipated that there will be more requests for the IPM workshops in the future and as long as there is interests these classes will continue to be offered at Delaware State University. To date, at least 30 producers have been trained in a new skill (fecal egg counting and/or FAMACHA certification) with about 20 reducing their reliance on chemical dewormers, and four producers have used pumpkin seeds on their farm as part of an internal parasite control regime. Milestones 4 – 5 were accomplished during the grant extension period where two producers (DE and MD) conducted on-farm trials to test the efficacy of pumpkin seeds in reducing fecal egg counts in goats (DE) and sheep (MD). Two on-farm demonstrations/on-site workshops were planned in both states, however, one was cancelled due to weather and low registration.
In experiment one, pumpkin seeds were not effective in reducing FEC in meat goat kids (see figure 1 in appendix 2). However, the method of administration (grinded pumpkin seeds) might not have been the most effective treatment method because the goats failed to consume all the seeds fed and sorted quite a bit. In subsequent university experiments (4, 5, and 8) testing the efficacy of pumpkin seeds in various forms (drench and oil), even though there was no significant reduction in fecal egg counts over time, numerically, the pumpkin seed groups had lower fecal egg counts most of the time. The only exception to this was in the once weekly pumpkin seed oil group in experiment seven where the fecal egg counts were numerically higher than that of both the control and three times weekly pumpkin seed oil treatment groups at most time points measured. For instance, in experiment four, after 7 days on treatment, fecal egg counts were reduced by 23% in the water/untreated group (CON), 32% in the ginger treated (GIN) group and by 60% in the pumpkin seed drench group (PUM; Appendix 3, Figure 2). Also, during the 42-day period, three kids from the water/untreated group and five kids from the ginger drenched group were dewormed and removed from the study. Even though there were kids in the pumpkin drenched group with fecal egg counts as high as others in the other two groups, none showed clinical signs of infection (PCV<15%, diarrhea, or bottle jaw) and were therefore not dewormed (Appendix 3, Figure 2). This indicates that the pumpkin seed drench might actually promote some resilience to high parasite infections and should be investigated further. In addition, when animals were all slaughtered and stomach worm counts conducted, the untreated group had more worms (1,857) compared to both the ginger (549) and pumpkin seed (869) drenched groups. In all experiments, with the exception of experiment eight, body weight increased steadily over the study period in all groups (Appendix 2 – 5). The goat kids in experiment eight took a week to adjust to the pumpkin seed oil and therefore lost weight from day 0 to 7 before steadily gaining for the remainder of the experiment. As for the two producer studies, fecal egg counts were not reduced over the 28-day period. However, in both experiments, the goats and lambs took at least 14-days to adjust to eating sufficient pumpkin seeds and a longer study period might have resulted in different results (Appendix 6 and 7).
Garlic, ginger and papaya seeds
In experiments two and three, garlic failed to reduce fecal egg counts in sheep and goats. This might have been due to dosage administered and/or length of studies. In experiment four, fecal egg counts were lower for the ginger group compared to the control group, however, five kids had to be dewormed in the ginger group while three were dewormed in the control group due to having packed cell volumes < 15% (indicative of anemia; Appendix 3, Figure 2). In experiment five, the initial study period for this experiment was 6 weeks, however, due to increased fecal egg counts in all kids, regardless of treatment, the study had to be discontinued. Therefore, papaya seeds administered at this level were not effective in reducing fecal egg counts.
Overall, under the conditions of these studies, the most promising natural/plant dewormer appears to be pumpkin seeds, especially when administered as a drench. Even though significant reductions were not observed, numerically the pumpkin seed groups had the lowest fecal egg counts and required fewer dewormings in most cases (Appendix 2 – 5). As for the other products tested, none appeared to have the fecal egg count lowering ability as pumpkin seeds.
Sensory data was finalized on meat samples collected in experiments from years one and three. Eight trained panelists in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences at North Carolina State University conducted the analysis. Samples were frozen and stored at -20 ºC. Loins were placed into 3-4 ºC refrigeration to thaw three days prior to preparation. Convection ovens were preheated to 350 ºF and thawed loins were removed from their packaging, patted dry with paper towels, individually placed on a sheet of aluminum foil and sealed into a foil packet. Loin packets were placed on baking sheets in preheated ovens and baked until the thickest region reached a minimum temperature of 160oF. Loins were removed from their aluminum foil packet, each end (~1/2-inch) was cut and removed and the loins were sliced into equally sized pieces. Servings of each sample were placed onto 6-inch randomly coded Styrofoam plates and served immediately to panelists. Two loins per animal and three animals per treatment were prepared. Results indicated that there were no significant differences in flavor attributes in meat from goats fed ground pumpkin seed versus the control in Experiment one (yr 1). In addition, diet effects on flavor in kids fed garlic juice versus no garlic were not significant (yr 1). Also, diet effects on flavor in goats fed high and low levels of pumpkin seeds were not significantly different from the control in year 3. Meat samples from the ginger and papaya studies were lost due to the freezer going down during storage.
In addition to the abstracts, workshops, and newsletter publications listed below, results from this project have been presented at meetings of the Small Ruminant Production in the Southeastern U.S. Coordinating Committee and the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control. Results have also been disseminated at DSU’s Profiting From a Few Acres conference in 2011 and DSU Research Updates at Delaware Agriculture week from 2008 – 2010. Two peer-reviewed scientific articles are also being prepared for publication in Veterinary Parasitology and Journal of Extension.
K.K. Matthews, D. J. O’Brien, N.C. Whitley, J.E. Miller, J.M. Burke, R.A. Barczewski; 2012. Efficacy of pumpkin seed oil in controlling internal parasites in Katahdin lambs. J. Anim. Sci. Accepted. J. Anim. Sci. 90 (E – Suppl.1): T91 (p. 30).
M.Gooden, E. N. Escobar, N. C. Whitley, D. J. Jackson-O’Brien, and H. Taylor. 2011. Lack of an effect of pelletized diets containing pumpkin seeds on gastrointestinal nematode fecal egg counts in goats. J. Anim. Sci. Accepted. J. Anim. Sci. 89 (E – Suppl.1): T395 (p. 400).
D.J. O’Brien, M.C. Gooden, J.C. Warren, E.K. Crook, J.E. Miller, N.C. Whitley, J.M. Burke Efficacy of ginger and pumpkin seeds in controlling internal parasites in meat goat kids. 2010. J. Anim. Sci. Accepted. J. Anim. Sci. 87 (E – Suppl.2): 758.
D.J. O’Brien, K.K. Mathews, J.E. Miller, N.C. Whitley, T. Hebb, E.K. Crook, J.L. Eierman. 2009. Natural plant anthelmintic fails to reduce internal parasites in meat goat kids. J. Anim. Sci. 87 (E – Suppl. 2): 128.
D. J. O’Brien, M.C. Gooden, and N.C. Whitley. 2009. Use of garlic as a potential natural dewormer in small ruminants. J. Anim. Sci. Accepted.
O’Brien, D. J., E.K. Crook, J.L. Eierman, N.C. Whitley, and J.E. Miller. 2009. Pumpkin Seeds Fail to Have Anthelmintic Effects in Meat Goats. Accepted ARD 15th Biennial Research Symposium
Newsletter/factsheet publications (2)
“Pumpkin Seeds: Do they control worms?” DSU Small Farms factsheet (http://www.desu.edu/sites/default/files/Pumpkin%20Seeds-Worms_DJO.pdf)
“Pumpkin seeds: do they control worms?” (Wild and Wooly Sheep and Goat Newsletter – summer 2009
Producer Workshops (3)
“The efficacy of pumpkin seeds in controlling internal parasites in meat goat kids and lambs – University and on-farm demonstration results”. 2012. Producer farm in Townsend, DE.
Integrated Parasite Management workshop – FAMACHA and fecal egg counting workshop. 2009. Dover, DE.
Integrated Parasite Management workshop – FAMACHA certification. 2009. Gettysburg, PA
Additional Project Outcomes
Impacts of Results/Outcomes
Based on the results of these studies, the most promising natural/plant dewormer appears to be pumpkin seeds, especially when administered as a drench. Even though significant reductions were not observed, numerically the pumpkin seed groups had the lowest fecal egg counts and required fewer dewormings in most cases (Appendix 2 – 5). As for the other products tested, none appeared to have the fecal egg count lowering ability as pumpkin seeds. The information provided from this research provides small ruminant producers with results from controlled experiments utilizing four natural products. Therefore, they can make more informed decisions about whether or not to include any of these products in their parasite control regime.
Project information/results have been reported in an issue of the Wild and Wooly Sheep and Goat newsletter as well as in presentations at professional scientific meetings and at producer meetings. The demonstration workshop held on the producer farm during the last year of the project was attended by eight producers and all indicated that based on the results presented, they would try pumpkin seeds on their farms to control internal parasites. All participants found the information helpful and indicated that more classes on fecal egg counts were needed. Three emails were received requesting information from the workshop, therefore a PDF document is being generated to email to small ruminant producers and will be placed on DSU’s Cooperative Extension website. In addition, a reporter from the Delmarva Farmer was also present and is planning on reporting the results of the pumpkin seed trials in an upcoming issue. This will assist in further dissemination of the results from this NESARE project. Two peer-reviewed scientific articles are also being prepared for publication in Veterinary Parasitology and Journal of Extension.
Overall, the project accomplishments and impacts include:
• Eight university experiments have been conducted on the efficacy of garlic (sheep and goats), pumpkin seeds (goats and sheep), papaya seeds (goats) and ginger (goats) in controlling internal parasites in small ruminants
• Two on-farm experiments conducted on the effectiveness of pumpkin seeds in controlling internal parasites in lambs (MD) and goats (DE).
• Natural dewormers administered to goats (pumpkin seeds and garlic) had no influence on the flavor attributes of goat meat.
• Two workshops held on Integrated Parasite Management including the use of natural dewormers with approximately 40 producers attending from DE, MD, and VA.
• At least 20 producers trained in a new skill (fecal egg counting and/or FAMACHA certification)
• Four producers using pumpkin seeds on their farm as part of an internal parasite control regime. One producer on-farm workshop on the results from all pumpkin seed trials
• Ten correspondence from producers and industry interested in the use of natural dewormers in small ruminants
• 500 factsheets on the efficacy of pumpkin seeds in parasite control distributed (Appendix 2)
• Presentations at Producer and Scientific meetings (approximately 6)
• Increased interest among producers in Delaware and Maryland for IPM workshops and the use of pumpkin seeds, in particular, to reduce/control internal parasites
Overall, for this study, even though an official overall economic analyses was not conducted, see Appendix 8 for an informal analysis of the cost per dose of Cydectin Sheep Drench, pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin seed oil for a 75 lb sheep/goat.
Twenty producers have been trained in a new skill (fecal egg counting and/or FAMACHA certification) and four producers have used pumpkin seeds on their farm as part of an internal parasite control regime.
Areas needing additional study
More research is needed on the effects of feeding pumpkin seeds on in on-farm settings. Even though two producer studies were conducted in this research, the adjustment period for goats and lambs to eat pumpkin seeds were not considered and therefore, lengthier studies might be needed to determine the true influence on reducing fecal egg counts.