Internal Parasite Storm Hits Hard
There has been an internal parasite storm hit many areas of the country this spring following the unusual month after month of rain. It is leaving a path of dead animals and has devastated many herds. Kids that looked like potential Grand Champions this winter, did not look good enough to sell for slaughter by the end of spring if they were still alive. We have been hearing from breeders near and far that they are having the same problem.
In the 10 years we have been raising Boers, we have never seen anything like this. It makes it even more difficult to understand because we have just completed our move from Central Texas to North Texas. In Central Texas, we have had heavy rains before but we did not have real pastures for our animals to graze on. We mainly supplemented them with grain and hay. With no grazing potential, we had little problems with worms. Now at our new farm, we have lots of different pastures and tons of grazing but are afraid to let them graze because of so much rain. And that may not be the real problem after all. We may have had the same problem back at our old farm and just don't know it.
This is one reason we have started writing the articles about the Boers being "High Maintenance". Now some breeders in wet climates may be saying "welcome to what we live with year round". That is the bigger problem. We attended a Parasite seminar by a Texas A&M professor and he indicated that breeders in wet climates like the coast may have to reconsider raising Boer goats. He said many of them are having to use 2-3 different wormers together every 3 weeks and they are losing ground. He also said there are no new wormers coming.
The message is breeders are going to have to learn to manage then better because you will not be able to doctor your way out of this problem. Breeders in desert climate areas like South Africa and West Texas may have little problems. Breeders in heavy wet climates may not be able to raise Boers at all. Then there are the breeders in between, like us. Much of the time we are in a drought however occasionally we will get a heavy rainy season.
What has totally caught our attention during this parasite storm is when we look beyond all of the sick and dead animals, there are others that don't seem to show any sign of problems and are doing great and have beautiful shiny coats. Another surprise is finding breeders with just scrub goats that are not having any problems. How can some animals be doing great while others around them are dying and looking terrible?
There is a strong message blowing in the wind today and it is a message that needs to be heard by all. It is time for U.S. breeders to quit worrying about how many "Ennoblements" are in their animals pedigree and start worrying about which bloodlines are more hardy and parasite resistant. Boer goats are a part of the meat goat industry and they have to be able to survive as well as the scrub goats do now. If the Boer goat breeders continue down the path of a "show focus" and disregarding the hardiness of the Boers, they will be putting a dagger in the heart of the industry. Way too much focus has been spent on how straight an animal walks, how feminine of a neckline a doe has, or how pretty of a head they have.
Our "High Maintenance" series of articles will describe what we believe we need to do, why we believe it is the right thing for us to do and then describe the actions we are taking to completely change our focus away from where many of the well known breeders in the industry and the Boer associations have led the industry into a "marketing world" that completely abandoned the South African breeders focus on a hardy, highly fertile breed that could make a major different in the meat goat industry.