The Weekly Bleat: Healthy Woollies
Farmgirl and Butterbean
Green Hill Farm
All of the rain we’ve had this year has been good for our pastures; however, constant wet and warm weather is anything but helpful when it comes to managing internal parasites in small ruminants, such as sheep. Normally, Farmguy and I monitor our flock and check their eyes every six to eight weeks using the FAMACHA test. FAMACHA (FAffa MAlan CHArt) is a method whereby only certain sheep or goats in a flock are selected for treatment against wireworm (also known as barbers pole worm). Sheep are selected for treatment based on the degree of anemia they are displaying in their mucous membranes. Basically, we very gently pull the bottom part of the eye down in order to see whether the mucus membrane is a solid pinkish-red color. If it’s pink or lighter, then we know we need to deworm and/or give an iron and vitamin B complex shot.
When we brought our sheep to Green Hill Farm, over ten years ago, we were instructed to deworm every six to eight weeks. Now, things have changed. Last year, we learned that our two main dewormers: Valbazen and Ivermectin were no longer working. So, now we are down to one dewormer called, Prohibit. It was taken off the market about ten years ago due to parasite resistance. It’s back, and working again. Nowadays, the challenge is to not use dewormers as often—but still maintain the health of our sheep. So, with ALL this rain, we’ve been using the FAMACHA diagnostic method almost every two weeks and treating accordingly.
We love interacting with our sweet woollies. Happily, this allows us to spend even more time with them. Yesterday, we rounded everyone up…with the help of a grain treat. And, luckily, everyone was in the pink! 🙂
Happy Wednesday! xoxo