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FAMACHA is coming!
Goat Gossip by Fred Vandermartin
clwyer@gmail.com

What is FAMACHA? I’ll use the description that the organizer for this event, Smith Co. CEA Brian Triplett gave “FAMACHA, a technique for strategically de-worming, is being adopted by sheep and goat raisers in order to delay the development of resistance of the internal parasite Haemonchus contortus to anthelmentics. The FAMACHA technique requires frequent handling of all the animals in the flock in order to examine the inside of the eyelid for signs of anemia. Anemic animals are often infested with Haemonchus and are in need of de-worming. Non-anemic animals are skipped during the de-worming cycle, saving the producer money and helping extend the useful life of the de-wormer in the flock.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

By learning the degree of anemia in the goat the goat raiser can also keep accurate records on which goats are resistant to the barber pole worm, and show a preference for that doe and her offspring. Dr. Thomas Craig likes to give an example of how they cull in Australia. The first time they check a goat and it needs to be wormed, they notch its ear. Likewise for the second time they have to worm the goat. The third time they give it a big notch from ear to ear! In other words, if you are having to worm a goat repeatedly, then its time to take that animal to the sale barn and think twice about retaining her offspring.

There are exceptions to any rule. Dotty, a large framed doe that keeps a good body condition score even with twins at her side seems to always have pinkish pale eyelids. There are no outward signs that she is wormy, other than a low FAMACHA score. All of her offspring score well on the test. We always end up giving her a dose of wormer. Some goats are like this, and it’s hard to cull a good animal, so we monitor her closely. I guess Gwen will have to follow behind her closely with a baggy and a spoon and get a fecal sample so that she can use her newfangled microscope to check out her poop for worm eggs.

Fecal egg counts are the other way to check your goats to see what their worm load is. This technique requires a decent microscope, a few preparation items, and a certain degree of training to complete the procedure properly. The great advantage is that it is much, much more accurate in finding out how heavy a worm load your goats actually have.

FAMACHA, along with management techniques such as pasture rotation, forage application of high tannin plants such as sericea lespedeza and chicory, application of copper oxide wire particle boluses, checking fecal egg counts, and smart drenching will keep your animals healthy and drastically reduce your inputs. Go to www.scsrpc.org to research these management techniques.

I would like to encourage you all to attend the FAMACHA training that Brian has put together. It will give you all a chance to attend one of these fine instructional programs that is important to all goat ranchers. The FCGBA and ETGRA have been threatening to hold a FAMACHA training session for months and lo and behold, fellow member Sheila Thedford got tired of all of the talk and contacted Brian and the deed got done. Thanks Sheila and Brian for your efforts in putting this together!

The East Texas Farm & Ranch Club, in conjunction with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service is offering FAMACHA training on Tuesday, July 1, beginning at 5:30 PM in the Activities Building on the East Texas State Fairgrounds in Tyler (2112 West Front Street). The training will be conducted by Dr. Frank Craddock, Extension Sheep and Goat Specialist from San Angelo, and will include both indoor and outdoor hands-on components.

Cost is $20 per person or $25 per couple, which includes the evening meal and the FAMACHA chart and training materials. Pre-registration by June 27 is requested by calling 903-597-2501. Persons with special needs are asked to call at least 5 days in advance so that accommodations can be made.

Bye, for now.


 

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