We decided to develop our own approach that would lead us to the same results. We
started out by going through all of our herd, looking at their inner eyelids and
collecting fecal samples from the goats that had significantly different color in
their inner eyelid. Then we did fecal tests of the samples to get an idea of the
worm load and try to relate it to the color we saw in the inner eyelid.
The results were dramatic. It went from one fecal sample having worm eggs all over
the place to having to look around the slide to find any worm eggs. All of a sudden,
it became very clear what the different colors meant related to the load of worm
eggs they had. We don't calculate specific egg counts. We can understand the difference
between lots of eggs and very few eggs seen in the test.
Although, earlier I said it is difficult to differentiate the color seen in the inner
eyelid to a 1 through 5 color, we did come up with 5 different choices to document
the eyelin color as we examined each goat. At first we used a 1-3 system with 1 being
dark pink and 3 being white. But as I would go through checking the inner eyelids,
I concluded that sometimes the color of one eyelid was darker than the ones I had
been calling a 2 but it was not as dark as the ones listed as a 1. The same thing
occurred between 2 and 3.
What we ended up doing was adding a plus and minus to eyelids identified as a 2 if
it seemed to be a little darker or lighter than the normal 2. So we label the eyelid
colors as 1, 2+, 2, 2-, 3. And the end result is that only the 2- makes any difference.
We will never worm an animal that is labeled as a 1, 2+ or 2. They have good blood
flow through the eyelid, are not anemic and will not receive any worming medicine.
If the animal is labeled as a 3, it is wormed no matter what. The 2- makes us look
at the rest of the body and if a doe is close to kidding. If an animal is labeled
as 2- but has good body and hair condition, we will not worm it unless it is a doe
close to kidding. When a doe kids, her immunities are lowered and she is more susceptible
to the worms and can cause harm to her health.
The 1, 2+, and 2 are only to allow us to look at the records to see how strong the
blood flow was and see if we can relate it to their offspring. Resistance to worms
can be passed along in the gene pool and we want to find genetics that pass along
the ability to be resistance to the worms. We have found several different does with
resistance to worms and it showed up in their offspring also. That is a big plus
Which Goats to De-worm and When?
The best way to determine if a goat needs to be wormed is by checking their inner
eyelid for the color. The darker pink the inner eyelid is, the fewer worms they have.
The whiter the inner eyelid is, the bigger the worm problem and the more anemic the
goat is which means they need worming. This basically comes from part of the FAMACHA
method that is described in the picture to the right.
However, we have customized the FAMACHA system and don't use their color chart or
completely follow their required actions for each color. Here are the reasons why
we don't follow the FAMACHA system.
It requires a person to attend an education program before getting the chart and
the majority of the education has nothing to do with the chart. It covers management
options that can be put into a book or pamplet without requiring a person to attend
It is difficult to tell the difference between most of the color levels other than
5, which is white.
The color on the chart can fade and no longer be useful as a reference.
We have seen different levels of color from those shown on the chart.
A person using the FAMACHA system does not understand the relationship between the
amount of eggs in the fecal compared to the color of the inner eyelid until they
actually do fecal testing to equate the number of eggs to the color.