Sheep and goats carry the same worms and when grazed together goats carry heavier worm burdens than do sheep, especially in the absence of browse. It is best to not run sheep and goats together, except in the pastoral zone where worms are not as important and where goats have access to browse, which they prefer. If you do run both goats and sheep in higher rainfall zones, run goats on different areas of the property from sheep. Goats also share common worms with alpacas. Goats can be successfully run with horses and cattle.
NOTE: goats can also be infected by the brown stomach worm (Ostertagia ostertagi) from cattle, unlike the situation with sheep and lambs. Use adult cattle that are resistant to worms.
Grazing management techniques that reduce the exposure of goats to worms are based on these four steps:
If these practices are not practical then consider feedlotting and ensure that feeders and waterers are designed to avoid faecal contamination.
Whether the paddock is for kidding does or for weaned kids the method of preparation is the same. However, the length of preparation will vary according to the time of the year the paddock first needs to be used. Refer to Factors contributing to pasture contamination (Appendix 3) to find out how long you need to prepare your paddock.
Prepare low worm-risk paddocks for kidding does and weaners by preventing contamination with worm larvae in the 2–3 months before they are needed. Preparation will typically require 3 months if conducted during autumn and winter and 2 months if conducted during spring and summer.
Preparation to prevent contamination can use any of the following practices:
*Where goats are referred to, include sheep and alpacas, as they can carry goat worms. While cattle also carry some goat worms, adult cattle tend to have very low burdens and contribute very little to contamination of pastures with worms affecting goats.
An alternative method of kidding paddock preparation is ‘Smart-Grazing’ Smart grazing to control barber’s pole worm in lambing ewes.
Other ways to prepare low barber’s pole worm-risk paddocks include rotational grazing with short graze periods alternated with sufficiently long rest periods which can greatly reduce the number of worm larvae on pasture, especially barber’s pole worm. Common watering points contained within small areas (e.g. up to 1 ha) that are grassed (i.e. not bare or gravel surface) should be avoided as these can become high worm-risk areas. While these systems (e.g. planned grazing, cell grazing, techno-grazing and intensive rotational grazing) are outside the scope of this publication, they use the principles found in Factors contributing to paddock contamination with worms.
Grazing management will be less effective in the parts of this region and times of the year when scour worms might be more prevalent and Smart Grazing may be of greater value.
The paddock(s) that will be used by the most susceptible goats after the autumn break should previously only be grazed by goats or sheep that have received an effective summer drench, or adult cattle (over 12 months old). To minimise contamination with worm eggs, graze for a maximum of 30 days after each effective drench is given (after which treated animals can begin to excrete higher levels of worm eggs from reinfection). A similar stocking rate to the continuous stocking will be achieved by stocking at 2½–3 times your normal stocking rate.
If there is excess feed, the summer drenches can be 'staggered' for different mobs so as to provide a longer intensive grazing period, as removing excess feed (i.e. graze down to at least 3 cm) enhances the kill of worm larvae due to higher temperatures, especially in the southern parts of this region Smart grazing to control scour worms in weaner sheep.
To find out more see: Roundworm life cycle and larval survival and Factors contributing to paddock contamination with worms.