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 Riverview 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 2,000epg 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 have been striving for both resilience and resistance to parasites, by actively culling "wormy" goats that do not live up to our standards.  Management plays a key role in controlling parasites.  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.  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. 

I have noticed a few breeders using wording directly from my website ......claiming "parasite resistance" in their goats.  Some of these claims are merely to make a sale!  Please choose your words wisely. Don't merely copy phrases from my website for the sake of selling your goats!  Be willing to show potential buyers proof of genetics carrying low FEC's & records of good FAMACHA scores.  Better yet...........be willing to prove your claims by entering your stock into the MD Pasture Based Test Program. They host a pasture based program with a strong focus on parasite control & draw consignors from across the United States.  We have consigned our goats to the test for 5 years.  Although we disagree with some of the 2013 management & sales selection practices, we do still feel the program has merit. They provide un-biased clinical data on FEC's, weight gain, FAMACHA & body scores.  For those producers that have a true concern for parasite control, I applaud your common sense & encourage your participation into the MD test program!

We are 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. There were 2 different groups on test.  In the beginning on June 4, 2011 there were 80 goats on a "pasture only" diet & 11 penned goats on hay & grain diet.  There were a few goats that died prior to completing the test.  The final reports list only those that made it through to the end.  All pdf files loaded onto our site can be viewed on their blog.  Simply click on any of the underlined text in this document for a direct link.  Susan posts frequently to the blog.  It's lengthy, but well worth the time to read! 

~Final FEC chart for the 2011 MD Pasture Based Meat Goat Test Program~

In the case of FEC's (fecal egg counts) the lower the number, the better!

 

 

 

 

~Final ADG (average daily gain) chart for the 2011 MD Pasture Based Meat Goat Test Program~

Page 3 of this pdf file lists the ADG for the pasture group of goats.  The average weight gain for this group was .124.  Our buck finished with a  .173 ADG.

 

 ~The Following article was featured in the November 2011 Goat Rancher magazine~

Variety of breeds perform well in Maryland buck test

By Susan Schoenian

 

A fullblood  Boer buck consigned by Sherrie Losch of Pennsylvania was the high-selling buck at the 2011Western Maryland Goat Field Day & Sale held on Sept. 24 near Boonsboro, Md. Eleven bucks that met the Gold, Silver or Bronze standards of performance were offered for sale via silent auction. The Losch buck met the Gold standards of performance for parasite resistance and parasite resilience. It sold for $875. The buyer was Lynda Heise from St. Thomas, Pa.  The next high-selling buck was a purebred Kiko consigned by P.J. Murphy of New Jersey. It sold for $725. It was also purchased by Lynda Heise. Murphy is a first-year consignor and previous buyer of top-performing bucks.  Merritt “Sam” Burke of Delaware was the top consignor in this year’s test. He sold all four of his bucks that qualified for the sale.  His top-selling buck brought $450. It sold to Mike & Rachel Moran from Alderson ,W.V. Burke was also recognized for being a five-year consignor to the test.  The top-gaining buck was a Savanna x Spanish buck consigned by Janet and Stephen Garrett of Virginia. The buck gained 0.235 lbs. per day. His ADG ratio was 181%, meaning he gained 81% better than the average buck in the test. The buck sold for $350. The buyer was Zach Teter from Beverly, W.V. The Garretts are first-year consignors.  The top-performing buck in this year’s test was a Kiko x Boer buck consigned by Luke Miller from Indiana. This was the only buck that met the Gold standards of performance. Miller also had a buck that met the Silver standards of performance.  Both of Miller’s top-performing bucks are going back to the farm for breeding. Miller is a first-year consignor to the test and a previous buyer of top-performing bucks.  In addition to the bucks sold in the sale, Lincoln University in Missouri purchased four bucks from the test via private treaty. For their upcoming research project they required two “resistant” bucks and two “susceptible” registerable Kiko bucks. The four Kiko bucks selected will be used in a divergent selection experiment on parasite resistance. It will be interesting to follow the progress of this research. Of particular interest will be the fecal egg counts of the offspring sired by the two resistant and two susceptible bucks from the test.  Lincoln purchased the most resistant buck in the test, a purebred Kiko consigned by Craig Adams of Illinois. The Adams buck never had a fecal egg count above 500 epg. His fecal egg count averaged 131 epg. The Adams buck also was one of the most resilient bucks in this year’s test.  All of his FAMACHA scores were 1. Jeanne Dietz-Band of Maryland also had a buck whose FAMACHAscores were all 1.  Seven does were offered for sale via private treaty. The high selling doe was a Kiko yearling consigned by P.J.Murphy. It sold for $550. Mark Sweitzer’s four Kiko doe kids brought an average of $225 each.  Eighty bucks were delivered to the test site on Friday and Saturday, June 3 and 4. On these days, weights ranged from 29 to 69 lbs. and averaged 41.0 lbs. After a 6-day adjustment period, the goats were re-weighed. The weights recorded on June 10 were the starting weights for the test. Starting weights ranged from 28 to 70 lbs. and averaged 42.5 lbs. Final weights were recorded on September 15. Final weights ranged from 37 to 71 lbs. and averaged 54.9 lbs. While on test, weight gain ranged from -9 to +23 lbs. and averaged 12.4 lbs.Average daily gain (ADG) is determined by dividing the weight gain by the number of days of the test (98).  Weight gains, while not robust, were steady. During the test period, the goats experienced a variety of weather and forage conditions.  The test site was dry during the middle part of the test, but very wet during the last six weeks of the test period. Individual fecal samples were collected every two weeks. The samples were collected directly from the rectum of the goat, unless the goat provided a sample while he was waiting to be worked. Fecal egg counts were determined by Dr. Dahlia J. O’Brien’s lab at Delaware State University. Fecal egg counts are an estimate of the number of adult worms present in the goat’s gut. They are a measure of parasite resistance. The purpose of this test is to determine which bucks are more resistant to parasites. It goes without saying that bucks that shed a lotof parasite eggs should not be kept for breeding.  Parasite resistance is a moderately heritable trait, more so than reproductive traits.  During the early and mid-part of the test, fecal egg counts were not very high.  While some goats had high egg counts, the majority of egg counts were below 2,000 epg and often 1,000 epg.  Though clinical parasitism could occur at lower levels, 2,000 epg is often considered the level of clinical significance for the barberpole worm. Fecal coprocultures showed worm eggs to be almost all barberpole worm (Haemonchus contortus).  During the last six weeks of the test, egg counts rose significantly, as a result of the increased rainfall. In fact, egg counts from the September 15 collection were so high that they eliminated five bucks from the sale. Before September 15, these bucks were meeting the standards for parasite resistance.  Please direct questions about the data and test to Susan Schoenian at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 301 432-2767 x343. 

High Selling Buck ~ Fullblood Boer bred by Losch's Riverview Farm Boer Goats

Lynda Heise from St. Thomas, PA on left.  Sherrie Losch on right.

High selling buck was Losch's R.V.F. Kicks Undercover Darkness.  He was sired by AABG BDV Kicks on Fire.  His solid black Dam was Losch's R.V.F. Top Spots Sasha.