I firmly believe that we goat farmers need to take excellent care of our health and personal hygiene, because our goats depend on us. Who else is there to take care of them if we get sick? If you are one of the lucky ones with children who know how to take care of your goat herd, that is truly wonderful. What about your spouse, you ask. Well, if sickness works in your household like it does in ours, first one will get sick and soon the other follows. So, you are both sick and out there feeding and caring for the goats.
But, in one way, while caring for the goats, you are keeping yourself mostly healthy in the process. I, myself, am proud to say that I am totally lice free, because of the goats. I would almost bet that I am worm free too, all because of the goats. In the process of worming our goats and with all the sputtering and jumping about they can do, and with my tendency to keep my mouth open talking to them to soothe them down, I would say I almost know the taste and flavoring of every goat wormer and cattle wormer on the market. Goat sputtering spray happens while they are snorting to rid their mouth of wormer. And, no, people, SafeGuard does not taste like apples like they claim.
The other day I noticed a couple of the girls in the adult herd of 70 scratching. True, it could be they were just shedding their winter hair, but my motto is if anyone scratches, they get treated for lice. Keeps it under control that way. And, while I am at it, Iíll delouse everyone else, too.
Iíll use different things to delouse the goats and I always make sure that whatever I use is for both biting and sucking lice. No sense treating for the one lice and find you have to go back and do it again to get the other. If I use a pour on treatment, Iíll use Cylence or Eprinex. If I decide to go with a dust, Sevin 5 dust or Diatomaceous Earth (DE).
That day I decided to go with DE. Itís a wonderful fun dust, not hazardous to your health or I would have bit the dust, literally, years ago because I am going on my eleventh year of using it. The goats like it too, going around and licking it off each otherís backs. Sevin 5 dust you have to be a bit more cautious with because it is a poison, so l use only a light amount of dusting and I definitely do not dust it while the goats are eating their grain in case some might fall in their feed and they might ingest it, or if itís windy where I might inhale it. Each has itís place and if you over do the DE dusting, whether putting loads on each goat or doing it frequently, it can really dry out their hair, not to mention your hands. Thatís the way DE works on lice, scratches their hard shell and then dries them up and it also works great on slugs and those little snails that carry Deer Meningeal worm.
Anyway, I am out in the pasture with my bucket of DE and my pound coffee can with the holes drilled in the bottom, happily dusting away while the goats were grazing or snoozing. Of all things, a wind picks up, not a light frilly wind, but a pretty stiff breeze. Iím only half done and I know I wonít remember who all I dusted to finish up later with the ones Iíd missed, so I kept at it, waiting between gusts, keeping the dust can low over the goats backs to keep from making a cloud of DE all around us. And, I thought Iíd done a pretty good job of it and went on with the rest of my chores. That night I went into the house and happened to glance in the mirror. My hair stood thickly on end, coated heavily in DE. Good grief. Well, on the bright side, I have been deloused, though I must have looked quite odd to the folks driving on the main road as I worked outside.
Years ago, when goats started becoming the popular animal to have, the people who came to buy goats from me were an entirely different breed and their dress code was so different. They would have never run around the rest of the day looking like I did, even if you are only on the farm. My clothes being dusty from DE, hair standing stiffly to attention because of the dusting.
Way back then people would come to buy goats dressed fit to kill. Women would actually wear fancy little strapped sandals, painted toe nails, painted fingernails, short shorts, tight little low cut blouses, loaded with make-up and perfume. Men werenít much better, wearing fancy expensive jeans and very expensive tennis shoes, snazzy shirts cologned up their eyeballs, all muttering about the mud and poo and tall grass in the pastures they had to walk in and the goat hair they got on their clothes while loading their goats. And, I bet not a one of them had ever been deloused.
Now adays, the buyers who come to the farm are dressed totally different. They wear clean to semi-clean no nonsense jeans, shirts, boots and they would not have been a bit shocked to find me out working with dusty DE clothes and hair. Different people, some yes, but many are the ones who had been the fancy dudes and learned it was better to wear farm boots to work with goats, or at least tennis shoes that did not cost over a hundred dollars that could easily get ruined running through mud and poo.
And, more and more of us goat farmers are starting to realize the importance of our health, our personal hygiene in taking care of our goats. Because all they got is us to care and protect them. Besides, our accidental extra delousing and bit of dewormer of ourselves seems to fit in quite well with our health program.