Analyzing the Effectiveness and Decreasing the Use of Dewormers in Meat Goats by Using FAMACHA and Fecal Samples to Implement Integrated Pest Management
This past year, I have used the grant funds primarily to improve fencing on multiple pastures. This was necessary to be able to support the goats on primarily grazing of pastures. For the optimum proof of parasite control effectiveness, I wanted the goats to be grazing for the maximum amount of time in real-life conditions, not fed in a confinement situation.
This way, with the additional fencing I was able to install, along with what I already had, I ended up with 5 separate grazing paddocks and was able to graze the goats for the majority of their nutrition from May through November, (on some stockpiled pasture). However, Mother Nature did throw us a curve with no rainfall from May 26 until August. Therefore, I did end up feeding supplemental hay in June and July of all things just like everyone else around here. When the rains resumed, I was able to go back to 100% grazing and rotating the goats.
I also was able to design a simple work alley so that I could run the goats into it and catch each singly to do a FAMACHA score and take fecal samples. The first set of fecal samples, done in July however, ended up at the test lab and they got too hot as she delayed testing them. She did do fecal testing anyway but I didn’t really trust the results since the samples set too long. I now have another set of fecal samples in my freezer, and these will be run soon and I will be matching the results with my corresponding FAMACHA eye scores.
One of the things that I think is most noticeable is that there certainly appears to be breed differences in parasite resistance. Any of our animals that have at least 25% Kiko or our Pygmy goats are showing healthy FAMACHA scores. The Boer goats appear to be greatly more susceptible in this area. Their FAMACHA scores for the most part were much worse than the Pygmy and Kiko crosses. However, within the Boers, there was some animal variation on who seemed to be more resistant.
I have cut down the deworming medications considerably. For example, I used to deworm all does at 30 days prior to kidding. This year, I tried to trust the FAMACHA scores and ended up only deworming ½ the does. This is a startling decrease in use of dewormer. Now, when the second round of fecal testing is finished, we will see if this was a safe management practice or not. Remember, the use of the FAMACA is only an indirect measure of animal anemia due to barberpole worms. If other types of worms are present, they will not be necessarily be detected by use of FAMACHA.
WORK PLAN FOR 2008
Next year I plan to do 2 more additional FAMACHA scorings and corresponding fecal test sampling. The biggest thing I want to plan is a field day for area goat producers from the 3 state area (Michigan, Indiana, Ohio) to attend and learn about FAMACHA and selective deworming. I plan to locate a veterinarian who will co-teach the FAMACHA along with an Extension Agent so that for the first time, we can have local producers certified in FAMACHA. However, I will say that instead of a field day, I may us the avenue of the Michigan Boer Goat Association. They are interested in having me speak at their statewide Field Day in August of 2008 and share the same information and do the FAMACHA training for this widespread group. So I may just take these results and share with this audience instead as this will be much larger audience with wider ranging impacts in terms of sharing this information. I plan on seeing links to SARE and this project particularly shared on their website in the future as well.
I have been sharing this information locally with my other producer friends and also on the Michigan Yahoo goat groups discussion group. I have also shared this information with my local Extension agents. We will be brainstorming as to how to set up a field day or share this project info with the Michigan Boer Goat Association. I will also plan on beginning to write articles on this topic area for submission to the local Ag. papers such as the Farmer’s Advance and the Farmer’s Exchange. Both of these have wide readership in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.