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Home WormBoss Worm Control Program for Goats – NSW Northeast and QLD Granite Belt Grazing Management for Goats – NSW Northeast and QLD Granite Belt

Grazing Management for Goats – NSW Northeast and QLD Granite Belt

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 lambsUse adult cattle that are resistant to worms.

Grazing management techniques that reduce the exposure of goats to worms are based on these four steps:

  • Avoid grazing on paddocks heavily contaminated with worm larvae.
  • Reduce contamination of paddocks with worm eggs.
  • Allow time for most of the eggs and larvae on the pasture to die.
  • Where possible, provide adequate browse.

If these practices are not practical then consider feedlotting and ensure that feeders and waterers are designed to avoid faecal contamination.

Which goats are most susceptible to worms?

  • Weaners in the months after weaning until about 18 months of age, when they develop a higher level of worm immunity. Paddocks used by young goats should be of the highest quality pasture as the first priority, ideally they should also be of low worm-risk. Bucks remain as susceptible as young goats.
  • Late pregnant and lactating does are highly susceptible to worms as their worm immunity is reduced in late pregnancy and through early lactation. This can contribute to the seasonal increase in worm numbers and later infection of kids at foot.
  • Adult or not lactating (dry) goats remain susceptible to worms as their immunity develops more slowly than it does in sheep, and is often incomplete.
  • Rangeland goats moving into higher rainfall areas are highly susceptible to worms as they have little experience of worm infection and hence their immunity is poorly developed. Paddocks used by these goats should be of low worm-risk.

How are low worm-risk kidding and weaner paddocks prepared?

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. Refer to Factors contributing to pasture contamination to find out how long you need to prepare your paddock.

Preparing a low worm-risk spring kidding paddock (September/October kidding)

March and April: Prevent contamination with goat worm eggs by either spelling these paddocks, grazing with cattle or horses or grazing with goats or sheep for up to 3 weeks after the protection period of a drench proven effective on your property. 

May, June, July and August: In some areas (e.g. tablelands), any stock including goats can be grazed because it is consistently cold enough (mean daily maximum temperatures below 18°C) to almost stop the life cycle of the major roundworms (barber’s pole worm and black scour worm*). In warmer areas, continue to use the ’March–April’ strategy in those months where mean daily maximum temperatures are above 18°C.

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.

*Some development of black scour worms may occur until maximum temperatures fall below 15°C, but in this region barber’s pole worm control is the more important consideration.

To find out more see these articles, all located in Appendices: Further information on goat worm control for NSW Northeast and QLD granite belt:

  • Roundworm life cycle and larval survival
  • Factors contributing to paddock contamination with worms
  • Find your “cold period”
  • Smart grazing to control barber’s pole worm in lambing ewes

What if kidding is at another time?

For early autumn kidding, only 3 months preparation is required as larvae die faster in the preceding hotter months. Goats can be grazed on the kidding paddocks in any months when mean daily maximum temperatures are below 18°C.

Preparing a low worm-risk summer weaning paddock

In late spring and summer, larvae on pasture die faster than in the cooler months, so preparation of weaning paddocks takes about half the time required for spring kidding paddocks.
In the 3 months prior to weaning: Prevent contamination with goat worm eggs by spelling these paddocks, grazing with cattle or horses (especially to stop pasture from becoming rank) or grazing with goats up to 3 weeks after the protection period1 of a drench known (from a DrenchTest) to be effective on your property.

Other ways to prepare low worm-risk paddocks

Other ways to prepare low barber’s pole worm-risk paddocks include rotational grazing with short graze periods alternated with sufficiently long rest periods which 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 Worms on pasture.

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