Goat and Sheep Flock Health
Optimizing nutrition, immunity and parasite control will allow your flock to flourish. Parasites are one of the leading causes of death among sheep and goats. A good parasite control program is not simply deworming, but also management practices to reduce the number of parasites to which the animals are exposed. Rotational grazing systems and isolation of new animals are important. Grain and hay should be fed in troughs high enough to prevent fecal contamination. Pastures should not be grazed if grass is short enough to allow fecal contamination. Following is a starting place for your flock health program. We look forward to discussing your particular flock's needs.
Vaccination and Deworming Protocol
Kids or lambs
1. If kids or lambs do not receive adequate colostrum at birth, consider giving tetanus anti-toxin at birth or castration
2. 1-2 months-of-age: vaccinate against Clostridium perfringens types C & D+Tetanus Toxoid (BarVac CD/T) and booster 3-4 weeks later; if kids received colostrum from non-immunized dams, give CD/T at 1-3 weeks of age and booster twice at 3-4 week intervals
3. Deworm kids or lambs every 2 months until marketed
Does or ewes
1. 1 month prior to breeding, vaccinate against Clostridium perfringens types C & D+Tetanus Toxoid (BarVac CD/T); use FAMACHA score to determine the need for deworming (see below)
2. 1 month pre-partum: booster Clostridium perfringens types C & D+Tetanus Toxoid (BarVac CD/T); treat for internal parasites
Bucks or yearlings
1. Prebreeding vaccinate with 8-way (Covexin 8 or UltraChoice 8); use FAMACHA score to determine the need for deworming (see below)
Vaccinations are available for caseous lymphadenitis, scours, rabies, contagious ecthyma (orf). We can discuss your flock's health, and what is best for you.
The drug class of the dewormer should be rotated yearly and/or as needed to help reduce drug resistance, which is a serious problem for small ruminant producers world wide. Bring us fresh fecal samples and perform egg counts regularly to monitor the severity of pasture infestation and the effectiveness of your deworming program. Drug resistance will show up as high egg counts and sick animals even after deworming.
Using dewormers only as needed is the key to preventing resistance to dewormers. The FAMACHA (FAffa MAlan CHArt) is a system to monitor the parasite of each individual animal so that it can be dewormed as needed rather than on a set schedule. The FAMACHA monitors for mucous membrane palor due to anemia (low red blood cell count) due to the parasite Haemonchus contortus, generally the most dangerous worm for small ruminants in our area. Other parasites may be a problem in some operations, so it is important to have fecal samples checked regularly. Checking fecal egg counts and monitoring for anemia will help you determine when a dewormer is needed. The exceptions to this as needed approach are that pregnant females should always be dewormed 3 weeks before kidding or lambing. Also, lambs and kids should be dewormed every 2 months until they are marketed. For more information of the FAMACHA system, visit http://www.wormx.info/famacha.
Ensure adequate selenium intake with a free-choice mineral mixture. We are in a deficient area, so you may need to administer supplemental vitamin E and selenium to does and ewes 35-40 days before kidding/lambing, and to kids or lambs 1-2 weeks old.