The Use of Controlled Grazing, Chicory Pasture and Herbal Treatments to Prevent Parasitism in Sheep and Goats, Phase II

2009 Annual Report for OS08-044

Project Type: On-Farm Research
Funds awarded in 2008: $14,941.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Ann Wells
Heifer Ranch

The Use of Controlled Grazing, Chicory Pasture and Herbal Treatments to Prevent Parasitism in Sheep and Goats, Phase II


This project is a culmination of 6 years of work, using rotational grazing and animal selection as the primary methods of controlling internal parasites in small ruminants.

Using these two strategies has shown that we can control most internal parasite problems. It is a systems approach, that requires planning and monitoring to stay ahead of the problems. Culling has to be strict and has to be continued from year to year. Rainfall can be a real problem, but by moving livestock right after a rainfall, then parasite problems can be kept to a minimum.

During this time, we have tried numerous alternative treatments. Chicory and sericea lespedeza plantings have been done and have shown good results in animal performance and decreased fecal egg counts. Sericea has been difficult to establish in central AR. Livestock are rotationally grazed on established chicory pastures, but are still on chicory all through the parasite season. It’s unclear how much chicory needs to be in a pasture to be an effective control.

Other treatments that have been used are an herbal product called Molly’s Finest, papaya seeds and whole papayas, a garlic juice preparation called Garlic Barrier and finally cayenne pepper and a Garlic Barrier-black walnut tincture-tobacco tincture. These treatments have been given using a control and treatment group, monitoring FAMACHA scores and fecal egg counts. Molly’s Finest did nothing to stop parasite loads from reaching lethal levels. Garlic Barrier is a good tonic, but doesn’t help with parasite levels. Papaya seeds did not have enough of an effect and were difficult to administer. The Garlic Barrier-black walnut tincture-tobacco tincture and the cayenne pepper were the only things that showed any promise and will be used on more producer farms this year, combining the pepper with the other mixture.

However, it needs to be strongly cautioned that we have found no treatment that by itself, can prevent death loss in small ruminants. Rotational grazing and animal selection must be used to stay ahead of internal parasite problems, especially if there are no effective chemical anthelmintics available or if a producer wishes to raise organic small ruminants.


Paul Casey
Farm Manager
Heifer Ranch
55 Heifer Road
Perryville, AR 76126
Office Phone: 6018895124
Ron Banks

Rt 1
Okemah, OK 74859
Frank and Shirley Butler
33490 E 653 Rd
Chouteau, OK 74337