Effective parasite control is a crucial aspect of goat management to ensure the health and productivity of the herd. Two primary approaches to deworming goats include natural or herbal remedies and chemical dewormers. Each method comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. This article aims to explore the differences between natural and chemical deworming in goats and evaluate the pros and cons of each approach.
Weighing the Pros and Cons of Natural vs Chemical Dewormers
Just know that worms are the number one killer of goats, followed by pneumonia. It’s a serious issue and must be taken seriously.
You can get your own copy of My Parasite Control Plan mailed to your door to help you get this issue under control in your goat herd:
Your goal while using natural deworming methods is to strengthen the health and immunity of your goats. Herbs can aid in digestion and gut health and have a soothing affect for goats.
Healthy goats are able to keep worm loads under control. All goats have worms, it’s a natural part of life. It’s when they get out of control, that they become a problem. And the barber pole worm is a worm that thrives in wet, humid and hot climates and it will kill a goat quickly. If your goats are being given natural methods of health and worming control, but they get a severe outbreak of worms, then moving on to chemical dewormers would be advised.
You will find that there are no studies to support that natural deworming methods are effective. Is this because they actually don’t work? Or because there hasn’t been any studies done to actually see their effects in goats? I’m not sure the answer to this. But do know that herbs like wormwood would need to be dosed at very, very high levels to be effective in killing stomach worms, so high of a dose that it could potentially kill a goat.
Pros of natural deworming methods:
- Reduced Chemical Residue:
Natural dewormers are often perceived as a more environmentally friendly option, as they may result in reduced chemical residues in meat and milk.
- Resistance Prevention:
Natural dewormers may help in preventing the development of resistance to chemical dewormers when used strategically in a rotational deworming program.
- Gentle on the Digestive System:
Herbal remedies are generally considered gentler on the digestive system, causing less stress to the goat and reducing the risk of negative side effects.
- Sustainable Farming Practices:
For those practicing sustainable and organic farming, natural deworming aligns with these principles, allowing for a more holistic approach to goat management.
Cons of natural deworming methods:
- Variable Efficacy:
The efficacy of natural dewormers can vary, and their effectiveness may be influenced by factors such as the type of parasite, dosage, and individual goat response.
- Slower Action:
Natural dewormers may take longer to show results compared to chemical counterparts, potentially allowing parasites more time to reproduce. Natural methods many times don’t have the strength needed to kill off the worm load.
Chemical dewormers are called “anthelmintics” and they should not be overused. Overuse is what causes resistance and where there is resistance to dewormers, there will be death. It’s like the final straw. Once chemical dewormers don’t work, there is nothing else to use.
To control stomach worms in goats you’ll find that chemical dewormers are the most effective.
It is imperative to do a fecal before giving any dewormers. If you do not know how to do that, then collect feces from your goats, label them with the goat’s name and take them to the vet to have them do a fecal and tell you what worms eggs are found. Once you know what worms you’re dealing with, then you can give the correct chemical dewormer that is effective against that worm.
You will not have success with chemical dewormers if you are not using the correct dewormer for the worms you are dealing with.
Pros of chemical deworming:
- Fast and Effective:
Chemical dewormers are generally fast-acting and effective in reducing parasite loads in goats, providing rapid relief from infestations.
- Wide Spectrum Coverage:
Many chemical dewormers offer broad-spectrum coverage, targeting a variety of internal parasites with a single treatment. But again, you have to know which worms you are dealing with, so you can chose the correct dewormer that is effective in your area.
- Precise Dosage Control:
Chemical dewormers often allow for precise dosage control, enabling accurate administration based on the weight and specific needs of each goat.
- Immediate Reduction in Parasite Load:
Chemical dewormers deliver a quick reduction in parasite load, helping to alleviate symptoms and prevent further damage caused by internal parasites.
Cons of chemical deworming:
- Risk of Resistance:
Frequent and indiscriminate use of chemical dewormers can lead to the development of resistance in parasites, rendering certain products less effective over time.
- Chemical Residue Concerns:
There are concerns about the presence of chemical residues in meat and milk following deworming, especially if withdrawal periods are not strictly adhered to.
- Potential for Negative Side Effects:
Chemical dewormers may cause adverse side effects in some goats, such as digestive upset or allergic reactions, highlighting the importance of proper dosage and administration.
- Environmental Impact:
The use of chemical dewormers may have environmental implications, with concerns about residues in manure affecting soil and water quality.
Other Worming Options
Serecia Lespedesia has been shown to control worms loads. But it doesn’t grow well in dry climates. But if it does grow in your area, consider growing it and seeing if it has good results in your herd!
You can also look in to worm-trapping fungi called Dunningtonia flagrens. It’s expensive but is a non-chemical way to control worms in goats.
The choice between natural and chemical deworming in goats depends on various factors, including farm management practices, sustainability goals, and the specific needs of the herd. Integrating both approaches strategically, such as combining natural dewormers with chemical ones in a rotational program, may offer a balanced solution. Careful consideration of the pros and cons, regular monitoring of herd health, and consultation with a veterinarian are essential for establishing an effective and sustainable deworming protocol tailored to the unique conditions of the goat farm.