The number one reason for poor health in a goat is parasites.  That being said............we have a strong focus on parasite control.

 Management of Parasites in Goats

Producers are starting to realize that parasite management in goats is crucial for obtaining maximum profits!  Regardless of whether you are a commercial meat producer, or someone with a passion for the show ring..........parasites can affect your goals.  Losch's Ridge View Farm has a strong focus on parasite resistance and resilience in our herd. First, let me explain the difference between resilience and resistance.  A goat with resilience is one that handles a high worm load or bounces back from a worm infestation well.  This goat can have excellent FAMACHA scores & still not have parasite resistance.  Parasite resistance is indicated by the number of Fecal Egg Counts (FEC's).  FEC's are an estimate of the number of adult worms present in the goats gut.  A FEC above 2,000 epg is considered the level of clinical significance.  FEC's are important because the eggs that are shed from goats with high FEC's contaminate the environment and are ingested by the rest of your herd, increasing the total parasite population! It is a known fact that 20% of your goats contribute 80% of the worms!  Culling the 20% that are carrying the high FEC's can greatly reduce ingestion of eggs & subsequently reduce your goats overall parasite load. You want an animal that carries both low FEC's and good FAMACHA scores. 

We entered bucks into the MD Pasture Based Test program for 5 years.  They had a heavy focus on parasite resistance/resilience.  We were honored that our buck entered into the 2011 MD Pasture Based Test Program finished with the 2nd best FEC of the entire group.  Additionally, he was the highest selling buck in the sale!  Only 11 of the 78 that finished the test had the parasite data & weight gain required for entry into the sale. 

Our deworming is primarily based on FAMACHA scores.  FAMACHA is a parasite control system that utilizes the color of goat eyelids to determine the need for deworming.  The Barber Pole worm sucks blood from the goat & causes anemia.............which causes pale coloration in the eyelids.  It is an effective & easy method to determine who needs dewormed. Only deworming those that have poor FAMACHA scores allows Refugia to thrive. The overuse of dewormers has caused parasites to become immune to various dewormers.  We deworm only as FAMACHA dictates & work to promote Refugia in our pastures, diluting the stronger dewormer resistant parasites with the weaker..........dewormer susceptible ones. To learn more about Refugia, check out the article written by Dr, Clive Dalton Article on Refugia.  Please visit the link & read his article..........it's worth the time! The overuse of dewormers has caused parasites to become immune to various dewormers.  

We have been striving for both resilience and resistance to parasites, by actively culling "wormy" goats that do not live up to our standards.  Being diligent with pasture rotation, monitoring livestock stocking rates, tracking FAMACHA scores, detailed record keeping and true CULLING (sending a goat to the meat market) of "wormy" goats are all crucial in parasite management.  Parasites climb up the wet grass & legume stems, making parasite ingestion more likely in the am, so we feed hay at that time.  As the pasture dries by mid morning, the parasite content on the upper portions of the forage is lessened.  The goats therefore consume fewer parasites. 

If you are planning to improve parasite resistance in your herd, it would be wise to choose replacement stock carefully.  Parasite resistance is a moderately heritable trait, more so than reproductive traits.........so proven genetics will make a difference in parasite control! Don't be afraid to ask questions!  A reputable breeder should be happy to answer your questions and provide you with data needed to make a wise choice.