If you want a good fleece harvest, you MUST check goats' skin for signs of lice and mites monthly and treat accordingly. We have found our organic powder to be a reliable monthly preventive for external parasites. If there is an external parasite infestation on any goat, however, we always resort to Sevin dust immediately in spring and summer to get it under control; in fall and winter, when fleece is longer, we also use AgriMectin Pour-On. We return to the organic powder for that goat the following month and keep a close eye on the skin for any signs of infestations.
In summer goats love rubbing against mint stalks. It may ward off flies and other summer pests as catnip does. I weave mint stalks into the fence for goats to rub.
Bathing goats--We bathe our goats with warm water from the garden hose and Dawn dish detergent whenever they become dirty and to keep the buck smell down in summer. Bath time is a good time to see and check skin and to find mats. Our goats have their own blow dryer, which is also handy for locating mats to remove.
Fleas, ticks, lice—All can affect any fiber animals. The lice that affect goats are not the same lice that can affect humans and do not transfer to humans. Ticks do not seem to be fond of goats but can occasionally be spotted on herd members. Fleas can be present any time of year. Lice are especially problematic during colder months when goats stay close together indoors and any time the fleece is long and the rains cause the goats to remain indoors, closer together. We no longer use Python dust since we found it to be ineffective.
We use a homemade Organic Flea, Tick and Lice powder for goats at all stages and ages. We try to powder and comb, fluff or blow fleece with a leaf blower once per month, checking the lower barrel near the belly area and inside the front and hind legs as well as the tail area regularly for signs of skin issues. If goats develop lumps or flaky areas on the skin or if they have mats starting along their bellies and necks it is probably time to shear and to resort to more potent external parasite remedies. We use Ivermectin pour-on as a more potent treatment for external parasites.
Flaky skin or dandruff that can become sticky may be a sign of "scurf," which is not caused by external parasites. Scurf results from wet climate followed by periods of dryness No one wants flaky or sticky skin particles in their fleece. Sometimes shearing simply to clean up the goats and dry the fleece then keeping an eye on the skin and bathing with Dawn dish soap at the first sign of problems helps with scurf. Spinners have a difficult time removing scurf from fiber.
We developed our own shampoo for use during these rainy summers. Our shampoo combines water, apple cider vinegar, Dawn dish detergent, glycerin, and aloe vera gel and has worked well to prevent skin problems and minimize scurf.
Any flaky skin particles we find are usually dry particles along the spine that can easily be removed with a flea comb as we dry the goat.
Our shampoo sells for $8 per Quart or $15 per 1/2-Gallon.
PREPARING FOR FALL AND WINTER MONTHS AND BATTLING EXTERNAL PARASITES
Applied to all wood surfaces in the barn and sleeping areas around the barn and pen that are dry and do not contain hay that the goats will eat. This is a once a year treatment in preparation for cold and/or rainy winter months when goats are congregated indoors or in pens closer together.
An external dose of Agri-Mectin Pour-On for Cattle against the skin along the spine
An internal dose of Agri-Mectin Injectable for Cattle and Swine, given orally
Organic Flea Tick and Lice Powder
Organic Flea, Tick, Lice Powder*—SOURCE: Kelly from Primally Inspired.
1.5 cups Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
¾ cup Neem Powder
¾ cup Yarrow Powder
40 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil**
Makes 16 oz. of powder for shaker can.
*Available in 1.5 oz. and 1 lb. containers from Mountain Meadow Farm.
**Leave out Eucalyptus Oil if using on cats. Actually, the Eucalyptus oil
doesn't seem to bother our barn cat. We also use the powder on our chickens.
Sprinkle powder down the spine from head to tail. Make sure to part the guard hair or fleece
so that the powder reaches the skin. Comb guard hair or fleece backward along the spine to
disseminate powder. Turn smaller animals over and sprinkle powder in the armpits and groin
areas. Sprinkle a line along the center of the belly as well . For larger animals rub powder into armpit and groin areas and along the belly so that it touches the skin. This mild powder can be used as frequently as every few days if needed. We use it once a month on our goats in addition to any other treatment that is needed. We use the powders 2-3 times per week in summer if our cats have fleas between their regular treatments. We also use it on our carpets in summer, especially if we are going to out of town for a few days, then vacuum it up upon our return. This is the only treatment we use on our chickens for prevention of mites.
Our Organic Flea, Tick and Lice Powder sells for $15 per 10 oz. container with shaker top.
Note: We are not veterinarians and do not recommend medications, we simply share information on what works for us and our goats.
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