Increasing Sustainability of Goats Production through Management of Gastrointestinal Nematodes

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2013: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2016
Region: Southern
State: Alabama
Principal Investigator:

Annual Reports


  • Animals: goats


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health, parasite control


    The Primary animal health issue on many farms in the southeast US is the management of parasites, especially the gastrointestinal worms.  The sub-tropical humid climate of the southern region gives an ideal environment, especially in the summer season for the worms to thrive. The project had 10 goats on pine bark mixed with concentrate as a treatment and another set of 10 goats fed with no pine bark in their concentrate. Data collected include FAMACHA score, body condition, weights, blood and fecal samples. During this study, loses caused by gastrointestinal worms occurred mainly with goats without pine bark and such loses were both direct and indirect. Direct causes included death, poor weight gain, and reproductive ineffectiveness, while indirect were in the form of more labor needs to care for the goats and the susceptibility of goats to secondary problems like running stole.

    20% (two out of 10) of goats fed with pine bark were dewormed more often while goats without pine bark were all dewormed with antihelmintic. Most of the differences occurred during the summer months. The fecal test results showed that the worm load in goats during the winter were generally low, less than 1000 fecal egg per gram of feces. Beginning of the summer season, there was an increased level of worms regardless of whether they were on pine bark or not. The goats on pine bark had fecal egg count ranging from 800 to 4000 fecal egg per gram of feces, while those without pine bark ranged from 150 to 1200 fecal egg per gram of feces. The eye color recorded by FAMACHA system correlated with the results of fecal egg count. On the other hand, goats fed with pine bark had a little better body condition, 1.5 to 3 than those on no pine bark, 1.5 to 2.0. The blood samples collected did not give any reasonable results because most of the cells were destroyed either by cold or heat at the time of analysis. The weight of the goats did not show any trend. Sometime they loose weight and sometime they gain weight depending on the available forages. Weight results were not a good indicator of this study. At the end of the second year of the study only two goats were left that had no pine bark fed to them, while four goats were left from the set that were fed with pine bark. It must be noted that not all the goats that died were due to worms, three of those on pine bark died due to weather conditions and three due to worms. Three goats without pine also died during the winter. Generally this study showed the positive effect of goats eating pine bark versus those without.

    Project objectives:

    The objective of the project was to identify production cost reduction and increased productivity of goats when pine bark is used as an alternative integrated approach to control gastrointestinal nematodes in goats and reduce parasite resistance to antihelmintic.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.