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Worming sheep and goats

As the grazing season begins it is important to think about a worming plan for your sheep and goats. Sheep and goats both require routine worming alongside almost every other animal. Internal parasites can cause problems if there are too many present in the animal, they cause internal damage and live-off the host. The host animal can show signs of infestation by loss of appetite, looking poor and in severe cases can be fatal.

It is best to worm sheep and goats three times a year, as a general rule worm at the beginning of the grazing season, after lambs or kids are weaned and then in the autumn at the end of season. For non breeding animals worm at the beginning, middle and end of the grazing season. The idea being that at the beginning of the season most animals have been in all winter and have not been exposed to these parasites, for breeding animals worming after the offspring are born and weaned. Don’t forget that the offspring will also require treatment.

For non breeding animals worming mid season is advised. At the end of the season before the winter months, worming is advised so that breeding animals are healthy for mating and to ensure parasites are not carried over the winter to infect the pasture in the following spring. When worming, it is best to alternate products to help prevent immunity to any particular drug.

Where possible, rotate goats and sheep with cattle as this can help to break the worming cycle, remember it is possible for goats to transmit resistant strains of worms to sheep.

Below are some tips to prevent resistance to worming drugs:
  • Do not worm unnecessarily, i.e. more times a year than recommended unless your animals have a parasite problem.
  • Make sure you are giving the correct dose for each animal and not overdosing.
  • Change the type of wormer used so you are using a different type of drug to prevent resistance.
  • It is possible for your vet to do a faecal egg count to see how effective your treatment is, this can be useful for reassessing your worming plan.
The key to a successful worming plan is to worm effectively and try to prevent the risk of resistance to drugs, thus keeping your animals healthy and reducing parasite damage for as long as possible.
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The Smallholder Range, Norfolk Mill, Shipdham, Thetford, Norfolk, IP25 7SD
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