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.
In the months (see Table 1. below) before it is required, prevent contamination of the paddock with goat* worm eggs by either spelling these paddocks, or grazing with cattle or horses or grazing with goats or sheep for up to 3 weeks after the protection period of a drench proven (from a DrenchTest) effective on your property.
Note: *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.
To find out more see Roundworm life cycle and larval survival, and Factors contributing to paddock contamination with worms.
Table 1. Months of preparation required for low worm-risk paddocks
|The first month weaning or lambing starts||Cooler tablelands areas of this worm control region*||Hotter western areas of this worm control region**|
|July, August, September or October||5||4|
|November or December||4||3|
|January, February, March or April||3||2|
|May or June||4||3|
* includes towns such as Bathurst, Orange, Goulburn, Yass
** includes towns such as Tottenham, Condobolin, West Wyalong, Narranderra
For early autumn kidding, only 3 months preparation is required as larvae die faster in the preceding hotter months.
The paddock(s) that will be used by weaners 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 minimize contamination with worm eggs, graze only for 30 days after each drench is given. A similar stocking rate to 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 enhances the kill of worm larvae with summer heat.
Give the weaners an effective drench before they enter the 'Smart grazed' paddock after the autumn break Smart grazing for weaner worm control.
Rotational grazing with short graze periods alternated with rest periods 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.