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The Big 5
Five really important topics
SHEEP & GOAT SPECIALIST
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND EXTENSION
SSCHOEN@UMD.EDU – SHEEPANDGOAT.COM – WORMX.INFO
1 10 AM Maintaining hoof health
2 10:30 AM Increasing the birthing rate
3 11 AM Minimizing feed costs
4 11:30 AM Maximizing the potential of orphans
12 PM LUNCH
5 1 PM Managing internal parasitism
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Almost everything I say today is equally applicable
to sheep and goats. Sheep are goats are sheep
Maintaining hoof health
• Is it foot scald or foot rot?
• How do I eradicate foot rot?
• Do you have some animals that are perpetually infected?
University of Maine Sheep Foot Health Research & Education
Hoof care is an important aspect
of small ruminant management.
• Hoof health can affect an animal’s
performance, disease resistance, and welfare.
• Hooves should be checked regularly for
disease and excess or abnormal growth.
• Animals with diseased hooves or excessive or
abnormal hoof growth should be culled.
• Lack of proper hoof care is an
ANIMAL WELFARE ISSUE.
The need for hoof trimming varies.
• From every few months to seldom to
never; average is probably once per year.
• Hoof growth is affected by many
different factors, including species,
breed, animal, nutrition, environment,
• The more you trim hooves the more you
• Over-zealous hoof trimming is
discouraged. You should avoid drawing
blood when trimming hooves.
What do you need trim hooves?
• Hoof shears (trimmers)
• Hoof knife
(for thorough trimming)
• Spray bottle
(to spray zinc sulfate solution on trimmed hooves)
• Tight fitting gloves
(to disinfect between animals)
• Tip on rump (sheep)
• While standing - lift feet (goats)
• While tied to gate
• On milking or trimming stand
• On elevated platform
• Chair (sheep)
There are three primary hoof diseases.
Foot scald Foot rotFoot abscess
Hoof diseases are bacterial infections.
• Occurs when
invade tissue already
• Usually only affects
one hoof or digit.
• Overweight and
mature animals most
• Not contagious
• Caused by interaction of two
anaerobic bacteria (F. necrophorum
and Dichelobacter nodosus).
• D. nodosus is introduced to farm,
usually in hoof of carrier animal.
• Involves separation of horny
tissues of hoof.
• Using affects both claws and
• Highly contagious
• Difficulty to eradicate
• Can be a significant welfare issue.
Foot scald Foot rotFoot abscess
• Caused by bacteria (Fusobacterium
necrophorum) that is present wherever
there are sheep, goats, and/or cattle.
• Starts with irritation (due to trauma
or moisture) of interdigital tissue.
• Results in redness or inflammation of
tissue between claws.
• Outbreaks occur during periods of
• Not contagious, but can be a pre-
cursor to foot abscesses and foot rot
Facts about footrot
• Footrot is an introduced disease.
• There are different strains of foot rot.
• The bacteria that causes foot rot can survive in
the hooves of chronically-infected animals for
~3 years, but only for 14 days in the soil,
manure, or pasture.
• Warm, moist conditions favor hoof disease.
• Livestock do not develop immunity to footrot;
however, some animals are more resistant to it;
genetic markers are being identified.
Treating and eradicating foot rot
(and controlling foot scald)
• Hoof trimming and scoring
• Topical treatment (zinc sulfate)
• Foot bathing (zinc sulfate) and drying
• Isolation of infected animals
Move to clean area
(no sheep/goats for >14 days)
• CULL animals that fail to respond to treatment
after 4 weeks
[ University of Maine Foot Health Project]
• Antibiotic therapy
Penicillin - OTC, ELDU
LA-200® - ELDU, Rx
Nuflur® - ELDU, Rx
*Zactran® - ELDU, Rx
• CULL animals that fail to respond to treatment.
Preventing foot rot
• It’s all about biosecurity!
• Maintain closed or mostly closed
• Don’t buy animals with foot rot
• Don’t buy animals from farms or sales with
• Don’t buy animals from sale barns.
• Don’t introduce foot rot via bedding,
vehicles, equipment, or footwear.
• Assume new animals are infected.
• Quarantine new animals for 30 days
• Cull animals with excessive or abnormal
hooves or hoof growth.
Increasing the birthing rate
• Do you know what your last birthing percentage was?
• What percentage of your lambs/die before weaning?
• What is your primary reason for culling ewes/does?
Tips for improving lambing/kidding percentages
In 2015, the national average lambing late
was 111 lambs per 100 ewes (USDA, 2016).
In Virginia, the average lambing rate was
116% in 2015 and 104% in 2014 (USDA, 2016).
Are goat producers doing a better job?
Maybe, maybe not.
Per doe kidding Average
Number born n=3057 1.84
Number weaned n=2906 1.56
Source: Kentucky State University GHIP FEB 2015
What is lambing/kidding percentage?
• NOT: # lambs born per ewe lambing
• NOT: # lambs born per ewe exposed
• NOT: # lambs weaned per ewe lambing.
• NOT: # lambs weaned per ewe exposed
• NOT: # lambs marketed* per ewe lambing
*sold or retained for breeding
Lambing percentage is # lambs
marketed (or retained) per ewe exposed.
100 ewes exposed to ram(s)
95 ewes lambed (1-2 heat cycles)
170 lambs born live
160 lambs weaned
150 lambs sold/retained
# lambs born 1.79 1.70
# lambs weaned 1.68 1.60
# lambs marketed 1.58 1.50
is a composite trait.
1-Fertility (conception) + 2-Litter size (ovulation rate + embryo survival) + 3-Survival
Many factors affect birthing percentage.
• Breeding during normal breeding season
• Prolific genetics
• Crossbred lambs have higher survival
• First cross ewes have higher birthing
• Postnatal loss < 10 percent
• Optimal nutrition
• Body condition score of > 3
• Cull open ewes/does
• Cull underperforming ewes/does
• Disease prevention and treatment
• Aggressive, fertile rams and bucks
• Accelerated lambing/kidding
• Match reproductive rate to labor and
• Breeding outside of normal breeding season
• Lack of selection for prolificacy
• Straight bred lambs have lower survival
• Straight bred ewes have lower lambing
• Postnatal loss > 10%
• Sub-optimal nutrition
• Body condition score of < 2.5
• Keep open ewes/does
• Keep underperforming ewes/does
• Lack of disease prevention and treatment
• Lazy, gay, and infertile rams and bucks
• Annual lambing/kidding
• Mismatch of reproductive rate to labor and
Season of breeding and birth
• Estrus in ewes and does is triggered by
photoperiod. Sheep and goats are short-day
• While some sheep and goats are less seasonal,
reproductive rates are almost always maximized
when breeding and birthing times are matched to
what is most natural for sheep and goats.
• With fall breeding, most females will conceived in
their first 17-21 days, resulting in more
• Winter and fall lambing rates will be lower than
spring lambing rates.
Nutritional effects on reproduction
• Ewes/does in better body condition will ovulate more eggs.
• Thin ewes/does can be flushed to increase ovulation rate. [flushing is
when you increase the nutrient intake prior to and during the early
part of breeding season, e.g. 0.5 lb. grain per head per day or better
• Obese (BCS >4.5) females have higher embryonic loss.
• Obese (BCS >4.5) females have more problems during the
periparturient period, e.g. pregnancy toxemia, prolapses, dystocia.
• Improper nutrition during late gestation can cause many problems,
i.e. pregnancy toxemia, milk fever, dystocia, over or undersized
• Aim for a body condition score of 3/5 at the time of breeding and
Cull underperforming females
It cost just as much to feed a ewe with a single as one with twins.
• Fails to wean a lamb or kid
• Fails to raise twins for two
years in a row.
• Lambs or kids outside of normal
• Only milks on one side
• Poor milk producer
• Raises poor quality offspring
• Physical defects that prevent female
from raising profitable litters, e.g. age
• Don’t make excuses for ewes/does
• No lamb(s)/kid(s) – no $$$$$
Two ways to use genetics to
improve reproductive rate
• Use/purchase rams/bucks that were
born/raised as multiples from most
productive families on farm.
• Purchase ram with above-average
EBVs for number born/weaned.
• Select replacements born/raised as
multiples from most productive
families in flock/herd.
• Choose a more prolific dam breed
e.g. St. Croix, Katahdin, Polypay
• Introduce a more prolific dam breed
e.g. Finn, Romanov
• Crossbred to improve fitness and
• Don’t save replacements from terminal
sire matings, e.g. Texel, Dorper
Two advantages to crossbreeding
• Balance strengths and
weaknesses of different
breeds, e.g. Texel x Katahdin
• Higher survival of crossbred offspring
• Superior performance of crossbred female
Decreasing lambing/kidding interval to less then 12 months.
• Twice a year
• Continuous, opportunistic
no defined breeding seasons.
• Every 8 months - 2 times/3 years
• Overlapping 2 times/3 years
• STAR® system - 5 times/3 years
• Spread out fixed costs
• More efficient use of facilities
• Year-round marketing
• Better cash flow (for bank!)
• Increased profitability [?]
But . . . management/labor intensive
Challenge . . . out-of-season breeding
Breeding ewe lambs and doe kids
• Breed at 7 to 9 months of age to
lamb/kid at 12-14 months of age.
• Only if well-grown: 2/3rds of their
mature weight at time of joining.
• Should be fed and managed separately
until they wean their first litter or are
bred for the second time.
• Increased flock productivity. $$$$
no “free loaders” except for males!
• Greater lifetime production of females
• Reduce generation interval
Accelerate genetic improvement
CONS: ewe lambs/doe kids have more
problems during the periparturient period.
Possible delay in growth.
Don’t forget the boys!
• Rams/bucks need good nutrition, health care, and management
• Don’t wait until last minute to get new ram or buck.
• Should perform breeding soundness exam prior to breeding
season (physical exam + semen evaluation)
• Use marking harness or rattle paint to monitor breeding activity,
especially in single-sire flocks.
• Males often require supplemental feeding during breeding
• Fertility is highest during normal breeding season (fall). Males
of some breeds could be limiting factor in accelerated
Remember that male contributes 50% of genetics to
flock, over 90% after several years of use.
Minimizing feed costs?
• Do you know how much your hay costs?
• Do you know how much it costs to feed one of your ewes or
does for a year?
• Are you feeding balanced rations or just feeding?
Coping with high feed costs: http://www.sheepandgoat.com/#!copinghighfeed/caxv
Feed is usually the single greatest cost
associated with feeding livestock.
Pasture is not FREE!
Two kinds of feed costs
• By-product feeds
• Milk replacer
Pasture and browse
• Weed control
Maximize your pasture resource
• Soil test
Lime and fertilize
• Mixed swards
Grasses + clovers (forbs)
• Control weeds
• Rotational grazing
• Extend grazing season
• Plant annuals
• Sacrifice field/lot
• Strategic supplementation
Feed balanced rations
• Nutrient requirements are based on species,
size (weight), breed, sex, age, stage and level
• Meet, but not exceed nutritional
requirements of animals.
• Balance rations for energy, protein, calcium,
phosphorus (and other nutrients when
• Divide into production classes for feeding.
• Maximum production not always goal;
Ration balancing 101
• Weigh animals and feed.
• Need to know how much you’re feeding and
how much animals are eating (and wasting).
• Analyze forages and other feedstuffs that
can have variable nutritional composition
• You can use some book values or feed tags
for many feeds,
• Balance by hand, use spreadsheet, ration
balancing software, or balance online.
Feed least cost rations
• Shop around for feed.
• Buy feed by weight
(or know cost per lb. or ton).
• Compare feed costs on cost ($/lb.)
to provide specific nutrient to
ration, e .g. protein, energy, calcium.
• Compare ingredients of
commercial feed products.
Make your own simple, on-farm rations
• Corn/barley +
pelleted protein supplement
• Corn/barley + soybean meal
• Cracked corn + soybean meal
+ minerals/vitamins (creep feed)
• Legume or mix hay + corn/barley
• Rations don’t have to be complicated!
Balance feed costs with labor
• The most expensive way to provide
nutrients is via nutritional tubs.
But, they reduce labor.
• There can be substantial waste if you
feed round bales, especially without
But, it reduces labor
• When given free choice access to feed,
livestock will eat more (than they need)
and have reduced feed efficiency.
But, it reduces labor.
Feed whole grain(s)
• Once lambs/kids have functioning rumens, they are able to
utilize whole grains.
• There is no benefit to processing grains for small ruminants.
• There are less digestive upsets when whole grain is fed.
• Feed efficiency is improved with whole grains.
• No forage source is necessary when whole grain finishing
diets are fed to lambs (goats ?)
• You can balance simple, cost-effective rations utilizing whole
grains and supplements.
• Some grains will pass through digestive system whole, but
loss is minimal, compared to cost savings.
Consider alternative feeds
Soyhulls are the “almost” perfect feed
• Depending economics, soyhulls can substitute for
either hay or grain in the diet.
• The nutrient composition of soyhulls is similar to
ear corn or oats.
• 1 lb. of soyhulls = approximately 1.4 lbs. of hay
In forage diets, 1 lb. soyhulls = 1 lb. corn.
• Soyhull pellets are preferable to “loose” soyhulls
• Bulk delivered soyhulls are considerably cheaper
than bagged hulls.
Invest in feed storage
• You can reduce feed costs substantially
by purchasing bulk quantities of feed.
• It doesn’t take a large flock to justify the
cost of a feed bin.
• Uncovered hay deteriorates rapidly in
• Storage gives you flexibility in feed
Fine tune your mineral
• Read labels
• Compare costs
Phosphorus most expensive ingredient – do you need it?
• Don’t supplement what you don’t need
• Trace mineral salt vs. complete mineral mix
• Measure intake
• Keep fresh - put out week’s supply
• Force feed when you can
• Loose better than blocks
• Different products for sheep vs. goats
• Use feeders
• Don’t feed on ground.
• Consider design of feeders
• Remove feeders after feeding, when
• Use feeders that minimize waste.
• Limit feed, if option
• Provide adequate feeder space
Maximizing the potential
of orphan lambs/kids.
• Do you have too many orphans?
• Do you have ewes/does that can’t raise their lambs/kids?
• Do you consider orphan lambs/kids to be a burden or bonus?
Raising lambs and kids artificially
How do we end up with orphans?
• Reality: in order to raise a 200% lamb/kid crop (a good goal), you’re going to have some triplets,
maybe a set of quads occasionally.
• Genetics: not all ewes/does can raise triplets.
• Nutrition: it is difficult for a ewe or doe to raise triplets on pasture (alone) or with inadequate
• Disease: mastitis orphans a lot of lambs/kids (clinical + sub-clinical)
• Death: sometimes the ewe/doe dies as a result of parturition.
• Mismothering: sometimes, you can’t get a ewe/doe to accept all of her offspring.
• Other: some lambs/kids are too weak, small, or “stupid” to nurse.
• Dairy enterprise: offspring are removed so dam can be milked
• Disease elimination OPP, CAE
How can we minimize orphans?
• Select for milk production.
• Proper nutrition during late gestation and
lactation; match nutrition to litter size.
• Graft/foster extra lambs/kids,
• Get ewe/doe to accept her offspring,
e.g. put her in a stanchion
• Cull ewes/does with mastitis or scar tissue.
✗ Sell orphans or give them away
LIVE – SURVIVE – THRIVE – GROW
Hypothermia and starvation are primary
causes of death in lambs and kids.
• Evaluate lamb/kid
• Age +/- 5 hours old
• Normal, >102°F
• Mild hypothermia, 98-102°F
• Hypothermia, <98°F
• Hold head up
• Be able to recognize a
stressed lamb or kid
• Hunched posture
• Hollowed out sides
• Excessive bleating
• Cold mouth
• Unable to stand
99-102°F < 99°F
Tube feed milk
+ 5 hours old
No brown fat left
- 5 hours old
Tube feed milk
Can swallow Can’t swallow
Tube feed milk or
Glucose by IP
Tube feed milk
Lamb or kid is sluggish, cold, not nursing
Warming hypothermic lambs/kids
• Normal temperature is 102-104°F.
Mild hypothermia is 98-102°F
Severe hypothermia is < 98°F
• Warm lambs/kids slowly to restore body
temperature; avoid overheating.
• Many ways to warm a lamb/kid: warming “hot”
box, hot water bottles, blow dryer, heat lamps,
towels, rubbing, and warm water immersion.
• Once a lamb/kid is actively nursing and healthy
it does not need to have a heat lamp.
Intraperitoneal (IP) injection
Injecting dextrose directly into abdomen to give energy boost
• If a lamb/kid is more than 5 hours old and suffering from
hypothermia, it is essential to provide it with an energy source
(glucose) prior to warming.
• 20% warm dextrose solution, 4-5 ml per lb.
[20 ml 50% dextrose + 30 ml freshly boiled water]
• Hold lamb/kid by forelegs
• Spray area to be injected with iodine
Injection site is 1 in. below and ½ in. to side of navel
• Slowly insert needle (20 gauge x 1.5”), pointing towards tail head
• Slowly inject solution
Importance of colostrum
• First milk produced by dam. Produced during last few
weeks of pregnancy. Females vary in the quantity and
quality of colostrum they produce.
• Darker and thicker than milk.
• Contains high levels of fat, protein, vitamins, and
• Antibodies protect newborns against diseases which
occur naturally (e. coli) as well as those dam was vaccinated
for (clostridial diseases such as enterotoxemia and tetanus).
• Antibodies can only be absorbed within first 12 hours to
have disease-fighting ability.
Link between colostrum
• Feed as soon as possible after birth,
preferably within first 6 hours
• 10% of body weight in first 24 hours
• 10 lb. lamb/kid – 16 oz
• 5 lb. lamb/kid – 8 oz
Increase allowance by 15% for lambs/kids
• Small frequent feedings
• Can tube feed or feed via bottle
↓ Another dam of same species in flock/herd
↓ Frozen colostrum from same flock/herd
↓ Fresh or frozen colostrum from neighbor’s farm
↓ Fresh or frozen colostrum from neighbor’s
farm different species
↓ Commercial colostrum replacer (e.g. Land O’Lakes)
↓ Commercial colostrum supplement (e.g. La Belle)
A skill all shepherds should master.
• Means of placing milk directly
into lamb/kid’s stomach.
• Quickest way to feed lamb/kid
that can hold its head up.
• If lamb/kid is nursing or can
take a bottle, you have to tube
• Some experts recommend tube
feeding over bottle feeding if
lamb will be dam raised.
1. Need flexible tube and catheter tip
60 cc syringe
2. Measure tube along outside of
3. Wet tube with warm water.
4. Insert tube into left side of mouth,
over tongue and back into mouth
5. Let lamb swallow tube or move
gently down throat
6. Attach syringe.
7. Let warm milk flow via gravity.
8. Pinch end of tube when removing.
Milk replacers for lambs
Not all milk replacers are the same; read the label.
• Multi-species milk replacers are
not recommended for lambs.
• Best to use a high quality milk
replacer specifically formulated
for lambs (to mimic ewe’s milk).
• Many quality milk replacers on
• Best to feed milk replacer that is
“medicated” with Deccox®
• Feeding cow and goat milk to
• The fat content of sheep milk is
much higher than cow’s or goat’s
• Can feed full cream cow milk (or
Jersey milk) or fortify milk with
fats or oils to increase energy
• Waste milk from treated cows,
does, and ewes is another viable
option, with added fat.
Milk replacers for kids
Not all milk replacers are the same; read the label.
• Can feed multi-species milk replacer, but better to
feed milk replacer that has been specifically
formulated for kids (to mimic doe’s milk).
• Many quality milk replacers on market.
• Best to feed kid milk replacer that is “medicated”
with Deccox® [coccidiostat]
• No problem feeding whole cow milk to kids; no
need to mix with anything else.
• Waste milk is another viable option.
Methods of feeding milk replacer
Methods of feeding milk replacer
• Free choice feeding
Warm or cool milk
• Hand feeding, bottle with nipple
• Reduced labor
Set amount 2-4 times daily
• Nipple on bottle
• Labor intensive
Reduced cost of milk
Primary health problems of
artificially-reared lambs and kids
• Scours (diarrhea)
Treatments, medicine cabinet for orphans
• Castor oil
• Mineral oil
• Pepto-bismal, Kaopectate
Weaning orphan lambs/kids
• Can wean as early as 3-4 weeks.
6-8 weeks more common.
• When to wean depends upon whether lambs/kids are
eating dry feed and drinking water.
• Size more important than age when deciding when to
wean (same with dam-raised offspring).
• 20 lbs. minimum
• 2.5x birth weight
• Can wean abruptly or after reducing # feedings.
• Best not to feed hay until several weeks after weaning.
• Lambs/kids will suffer at temporary set-back after
weaning, but will adjust with compensatory gains.
Management tips for orphans
• Adequate colostrum intake
• Feed in small pens
• Good sanitation of feeding equipment and pen
• Milk proteins not plant proteins
Skim milk vs. dried whey
• Feed cool milk to prevent digestive upsets
• Can add formulin or yogurt to milk as
prevention for bloat
• Start on dry feed (grain) early
• Vaccinate for CDT multiple times
• Coccidiostat in milk replacer and starter diet
Can you make money with orphans?
• They increase lambing percentage
15-20 lbs. milk replacer per lamb/kid
$40-60 for 25-lb. bag of milk replacer
$32-$48 extra cost for orphan lamb/kid
• What can you sell orphans for?
• Could orphan lambs/kids be a profit
center on your farm: buy/sell?
Managing internal parasitism
• Do you have to deworm your animals a lot?
• Do you know which dewormers work on your farm?
• Do you rely too much on drugs to control internal
American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control
www.acsrpc.org or www.wormx.info
Internal parasites are the primary
health problem of small ruminants.
• Sheep and goats can be infected by
many different parasites, but two
the most important and cause the
1. Haemonchus contortus
Barber pole worm
2. Eimeria spp.
Internal parasites cause losses in two ways.
Clinical, including death Sub-clinical, production losses
Anthelmintic/dewormer resistance is a
reality and growing problem.
• Drug resistance was/is inevitable.
• Worms have developed resistance to all dewormers
and dewormer classes.
• Resistance varies by geographic region and farm
and is based on past use of drugs.
• Most farms have resistance to benzimidazoles
(SafeGuard®, Valbazen® and avermectins
(Ivomec®. Moxidecin (Cydectin®) and levamisole
(Prohibit®) are still effective on many farms.
• On farms with resistance, dewormers may still be
clinically effective; all producers need to manage to
minimize development of resistant worms.
Testing for dewormer resistance
Should do every 2-3 years
Fecal egg count reduction test
• Compare fecal egg counts from animals
before they are treated with fecal egg counts
from after they were treated with
• Need to do before/after fecal egg counts for
each drug you want to test.
• Cost varies.
• Need a lot of animals to get meaningful data.
• Submit pooled fecal sample to University
of Georgia for larval development assay.
• Labor-intensive lab test that determines
resistance to all drugs.
• Costs $450
• Can do with smaller number of animals.
What about “natural” dewormers?
A dewormer kills parasites in the animal!
• There’s only one: copper oxide wire particles (COWP).
It is only effective against barber pole worm.
• Anything you do to reduce pasture contamination will
reduce the number of animals that require treatment.
• Anything you do to improve the nutritional and immune
status of your animals will reduce the number that
• Always regularly monitor animals for clinical signs of
parasitism and give them a commercial dewormer when
they are clinically parasitized.
• There are ongoing studies evaluating various
compounds for their effect on internal parasites.
Enemy #1: barber pole worm
• Blood-feeding roundworm that attaches itself
to the abomasum (true stomach) and causes
anemia (blood loss) and submandibular edema
• Other symptoms include weight loss, loss of
body condition, weakness, anorexia, and
lethargy. Can also cause sudden death.
• Is difficult to control because of its short,
direct life cycle, prolific egg laying ability, and
ability to go into hypobiotic (arrested) state.
How do sheep and goats
get infected with worms?
Enemy #2: Eimeria spp. Coccidia
• Single-cell protozoa that destroys intestinal cells and causes
loss of blood and electrolytes and poor absorption of
nutrients; recovering animals may be left with scar tissue and
continue to show ill thrift.
• Most common symptom is scours (diarrhea), but not always.
Other symptoms include weight loss, loss of body condition,
rough hair coat, anorexia, and lethargy. Losses can be acute.
• Coccidia have a more complicated life cycle that stomach
worms. Animals pick up infective oocysts from food, water,
or bedding or anything they lick that has been contaminated
• Coccidia are species-specific; even sheep and goats are
affected by different strains of coccidia. Not all strains are
Ability to resist infection
• It is normal for sheep and goats to be “infected” with various
parasites. Positive egg counts are normal.
• Sheep and goats eventually develop immunity to parasites.
• The age at which they develop immunity depends upon the
parasite, the species(goats vs. sheep), the breed, and the
individual sheep or goat.
• Sheep/goats must have continuous exposure to a low level of
parasites in order to develop and maintain immunity;
deworming prevents development of immunity.
• Immunity can be overcome by stressful conditions or heavy
• Immunity is compromised during the periparturient period.
Management affects internal parasite risk.
• When/where you kid/lamb.
• Age of weaning
• Cleanliness of facilities
• Stocking and penning rates
• Nutrition, including colostrum intake
• Biosecurity practices
• Sheep/goats raised in dry lot have practically no
• There is no source of infection or re-infection in dry
lot or confinement.
• It may be wise to feed some classes of sheep/goats in
• Pasture for ewe flock/doe herd
• Zero grazing for weaned lambs/kids
• Graze replacements so they can develop immunity
• Dry lot feeding can be forage or concentrate-based.
• Coccidiosis is still a risk.
Pasture and grazing management
• Pasture rest/rotation
• Clean pastures
• Annual pastures
• Alternative forages
e.g. Sericea lespedeza, chicory
• Multi-species grazing
• Minimum grazing height
• Delayed grazing
• Night penning
Proper use of anthelmintics
• Drench formulations only
• Oral drenching only
• Use oral dosing syringe with long metal nozzle, so you can deposit drug
over tongue into esophagus
• Don’t under-dose; dose based on accurate weights
• Give higher dosages (per lb) to goats (usually 2x sheep dose)
• Proper extra-label use of dewormers
• Fast when giving benzimidazoles (SafeGuard® and Valbazen® and
• Hold in dry lot for 48 hours after dosing
• Test for dewormer resistance.
There are reasons why goats are more
susceptible to internal parasites.
More resistant breeds
1. Hair sheep
2. Hair composite
Natives (Gulf Coast, Florida, LA)
Goats (less data)
• Savanna (?)
Selecting for parasite resistance
• Principles of selection: select best males for breeding [top] and cull the
• Don’t keep or buy males (especially) or replacement females that require
deworming (or frequent deworming).
• Do fecal egg counts and keep animals with lowest egg counts; make sure
there is enough of a parasite challenge (compare apples to apples!)
• Consign and/or purchase rams to/from SW Virginia Performance Test.
Rams are kept on pasture and challenged with worm larvae.
• Purchase Katahdin ram(s) with above-average EBVs for parasite resistance
• Consign and/or purchase (Kiko) bucks to/from Western Maryland
Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test. Bucks are raised on pasture
and evaluated for parasite resistance.
What is Targeted Selective Treatment (TST)?
No whole-flock treatments.
Only treating animals that require deworming (based on
Only treating animals that would benefit from deworming.
• Means of increasing “refugia.”
• Refugia are worms that have not been exposed to drug(s)
in animal or on pasture.
• Refugia are essential to prolonging effectiveness of
anthelmintics and slowing the rate of drug resistance.
Control of coccidia
• Prevent with good sanitation, nutrition, and management.
• Prevent with coccidiostats in feed, mineral, water, and/or milk
• Bovatec® - sheep
• Rumensin ® - goats (toxic to equines)
• Deccox® - sheep, goats
• Corid® - OTC, Rx
• Treat with amprolium (Corid) or sulfa drugs [Rx]
• Sericea lespedeza may provide natural control of coccidiosis
• New Veterinary Feed Directive may affect how we
control/treat coccidiosis in sheep/lambs (sulfa drugs are
affected by new regulations)
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Sheep & Goat Specialist
University of Maryland Extension