Last weekend we went to a Small Ruminant Field day at one of the local universities. In addition to learning how to do fecals, getting our FAMACHA certification, and connecting with a lot of other local people who raise sheep and goats, we learned about using copper wire particles as part of a worming regimen for goats and sheep.
Our area is very copper deficient, so supplementing the goats with copper is essential to their health. Recent studies have shown that dosing both sheep and goats with copper can reduce their worm load by 30-90%, and since our area IS copper deficient, proper dosing should not cause a toxicity problem with sheep.
With all this in mind, we headed over to Jeffers Livestock to order the copper. They sell a pre-measured dosage for goats, but it is way cheaper to buy the cow product and weigh it down to a goat dosage.
2g for young or mini goats
4g for adults
(the dosage is halved for sheep).
Big Onion actually had to go to a 'head shop' to find find a scale capable of measuring tenths of grams. I'm not sure they believed his assurances that he would be using it to measure goat medicine!
We learned of two methods of administering the copper. One was to put it in gelatin capsule and pill the animals. The other was to hide it inside marshmallows that the goats will (supposedly) eat very happily.
The taste test.
None of the goats showed any interest in eating the marshmallows on their own. Not a single one.
Yep, it's still in there.
I got covered in the stuff.
I should take a moment to thank my mother (in the background of this picture) for spending her Mother's Day eve helping us on the farm for the day. She was a great goat wrangler!
Eve take two. She and I both ended up covered in goop.
The general rule around here is that we don't use horns as handles. It leads to the goat thinking using their horns is an appropriate way to interact with humans...which it is not at all. That said, every once in a while, they sure do come in handy. This is Josie doing her best impression of a chipmunk.
Thea is the only one that I suspect will need a redose. She duped me by acting like she'd swallowed the whole mess only to walk away and spit everything out all over the ground. Oddly enough, the easiest to dose was Rocky, our buck. I had saved him for last thinking I was in for a rodeo ride. Instead he chewed up the whole thing and swallowed it down in one gulp.
After that whole sticky, messy fiasco, we got smart and dosed all the bottle lambs their 1g of copper by putting it in capsules and using a pet piller to pop them right down their throats. Worked like a charm, and we'll be doing the rest of the flock as soon as we get more capsules.