Deworming

If a “wormy” situation with our animal arises, I think to myself,

Why did they have a worm issue and how can I stop it from happening again?”

Be adamant in your mind that it’s a problem and there’s a solution and you CAN fix it without relying on chemicals alone!

Parasite overload can severely inhibit the health of animals and should be monitored regularly.

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Below are are some practices

that work on our farm

to prevent internal parasites:

Capture

Rotational grazing –

Rotational grazing helps prevent the build up of parasites on fields by rotating the cows to keep them off certain sections at a time.

Animals do not swap all parasites equally, so multi-species grazing may be your answer. In an example,:grazing cattle and sheep in a rotation can work to maintain pastures (to avoid over-growth and different animals like different types of plants) and reduce parasite load (because cattle & sheep are susceptible different parasites).

Click here to read about how you can change your paddocks into rotational grazing areas.

PasturePens

Never feed on the ground –

This seems to be a difficult concept for many (Especially in the sheep world where production of wool tends to interfere with other animal husbandry concepts. We went rogue and built a sheep feeder anyway – and are very satisfied!)

A feeder keeps feed up off the ground which is a great benefit to your hay bill – because hardly any hay is waste! The feeder also keeps the animals from eating in direct contact with the ground which is where worm eggs/larvae are ingested.

  • Use a feeder for anything you feed your animals:
    • Hay
    • Grain
    • Minerals
    • Treats
  • Click for: Directions on building hay feeders for cows
  • Click for: Directions on building hay feeders for sheep/goats
  • Pasture tall: even your pasture should not be “on the ground” – try not to pasture grass any shorter than 3-4″ if at all possible. If not possible, sell excess animals, limit pasturing times, irrigate more, fertilize, and let the ground rest until back to pasturing height (around 4-8 inches tall).

Sunshine –

Each spring all our cow stalls are fully gutted of straw/shavings/wet stuff and are left open to air dry and have the sun beat down on them all summer while the animals are out on summer pasture.

We sprinkle DE over everything once the ground is dry. Just let it cure!

Sunshine is important in the pastures, too. The length of time parasites can live in the pastures is greatly variable depending on weather. Many animals, especially cows, love warm sunny weather. Vitamins A, D, & B complex are very important as part of a healthy defense system.

Build immunity –

Animals are exposed to many things, and they’ll be exposed to worms and parasites of some type or another. That’s ok. Building a strong immune system occurs through exposure, proper mineral balance in the body, and balanced gut flora. You can’t kill every parasite in existence, so the goal should be to manage proper defenses against them.

garlicGarlic –

Grow a plot, it’s pretty easy! ;) Or be like me and get tons of leftovers from your dad (thanks dad!)

I know a lot of people whose animals eat garlic raw right out of their hand (lucky them!)

My spoiled brats won’t…. So we either by hand or with bolus gun can pop one down their mouth. For my sheep, which I have had almost 2 years, only I garlic dewormed before lambing. Their lambs thrived and have not needed deworming.

wormwoodWormwood & Oregano –

Weeds in our neck of the woods – don’t rip it out! A nibble here and there is a good thing!

If used in an herbal mix, use wormwood sparingly (once or twice a year is ok)

An added bonus, bees adore flowering oregano.

A Wormwood Deworming Recipe:

  • 8 oz. each, dried herb: Wormwood; Fennel; Garlic; Black Walnut Hull powder
  • 4 oz. clove
  • 1 oz. stevia
  • Blend and put into capsules. Give 1 a day for 3 days. Only give every 6-8 weeks or less frequently, as needed.

Herbal Deworming Formulas –

Buying herbal wormers is super expensive, and I would say only buy them if you just don’t have the time to do your own or if you’re rich. Unfortunately, going organic for most people means – do it yourself! :)

Here’s some good information from companies that make their own herbal formulas:

A note on fecal testing:

Before using chemical dewormers, or if you just like to keep learning, I highly recommend researching fecal tests. Often vet hospitals will offer the service. If affordable, this test can help you monitor if your animals do in fact have a worm load.

If no testing is available locally, contact your state extension or university and inquire about fecal testing. Our state is $8 per sample, very affordable!

Additional Resources:

Managing Internal Parasites in Organic Livestock: https://www.cog.ca/documents/Managing%20internal%20parasites%20in%20organic%20livestock.pdf

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