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 to us.
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.