Goats/copper sulfate


QUESTION: I have been told that you can put 1/4 tsp of copper sulfate per gallon of water to keep goats and cows dewormed is this true and is it safe? I have 3 nubian does and 4 boer does and I cannot seem to keep the nubians healthy. I check all the goats under lids for color at least every 2-3 days for worms. The boers are never bad but my nubians are always pale. I worm them  with ivermectin, valbazen, or safeguard,they will be pink and then bamm all of a sudden pale again. Are they just more susceptible to worms or do I have some unhealthy nubians? My son wanted the nubians to cross up but ever since we have had them it seems as though I am continually doctoring them.We have had them for about 5 months.Should I try something else.

ANSWER: Copper sulfate in my experience does not work for stomach works and when you are checking the lower inner eyelids (must be lower inner) you are checking for anemia that is caused by the barber pole worm, as most regular stomach worms do not cause anemia.   Some breeds as well as individual goats have a stronger system to fight the barber pole worm as well as other stomach worms better than other goats/breeds.  If their poop is pelleted, not clumped or dog poop style, then they most likely do not have regular stomach worms (which is what you have been treating them for).  Also, depending on their nutrition will also cause their lower inner eyelids to show anemia.  When you say you cannot keep the Nubians healthy, what exactly has been wrong with them?  Let me know and I will get back to you - Donna

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QUESTION: There lower eyelids are always pale and I have dewormed them with ivermectin every 10 days for 3 weeks and they got better for a couple weeks then pale again so dewormed with safeguard 3x body weight every 10 days for 3 weeks and again and again just cant seem to get them to a good color and stay. My vet says partially because of all the rain makes them more likely to get worms but I am dewroming them 3 to 1 to the other goats. They all have fresh water daily, free choice grass hay,salt, and  pasture. we also feed them each 1 cup of sweet feed daily.

ANSWER: Thanks for the update.  So, ivermectin does not kill barber pole worms.  Zimectrin with ivermectin in it (this is an oral horse wormer) kills most all of the regular stomach worms (but again these do not generally cause anemia just ill health).  Safeguard oral horse wormer (fenbendazole) with a dosing found on the barrel at three times the goat's weight once every week for three weeks generally will kill the barber pole worm.  If the Safeguard was the oral goat wormer, that does not work as well and you would need to give sometimes 5 or 6 times the goat's weight to find the correct dose to kill barber pole worms.  Also, even if you kill the barber pole worms, the anemia will not go away until you give the goat iron - human iron tablets or Geritol liquid work very well - tablets must be crushed and dissolved in a little hot water - once a day for 7 days and then every other day for 7 days and by that time anemia should be under control.  Rain is not really the culprit with barber pole worms - it is mainly a length of grass issue - if the grass blades are less than 3 inches in height the barber pole worm larvae easily crawl up to that height and then are eaten by livestock.  If the grass blades are taller then the goat is not likely to eat the larvae as they eat the tips the the larvae cannot crawl past 3 inches.  Do all your goats have pelleted poop?

Re the difference in breeds and individual goats, most need specific nutrition - an example would be that it sounds like your Nubians definitely need a higher protein than the Boers - and 1 cup of sweet feed is not enough to give the Nubians that protein amount.  As an example, I give my growing Oberhasli dairy does (dry) 5 to 6% of their body weight in feed a day, with 2/3 of that in hay/pasture and 1/3 in grain - this means if a doe weighs 100 pounds she needs 5 to 6 pounds of total feed a day to add weight as she is growing with a protein level of about 14% to 16% - this would mean she needs about 1.7 pounds of grain to 3.4 pounds of hay a day - the grain would then be about 3 cups a day needed to allow her to gain good weight and stay healthy.  I have five paddocks for the different productions and ages of my goats as these all need different feeding regimens as to protein amounts.  

Do they have access to a mineral salt with cobalt, selenium, copper, etc.?  I use a general horse or livestock loose salt that has all these - there are also horse salt bricks with these minerals in them.  And, of course, if you have sheep in with the goats then you cannot use a mineral salt with copper in it.  

Have the Nubians been ill? or do they just look thin?

Hope this helps - let me know - Donna

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QUESTION: Will the Valbazen not kill the Barber pole? I did use the horse safeguard the last time. They perioically are lethargic and one had bottle jaw a month ago, treated her with safeguard and have been giving her molasses, red cell and b12. They are thinner than the rest of the goats. All goats have pelleted poop, they do have access to a mineral salt block. Thanks

Thanks for the update.  Re the Valbazen from what I have read it does not always work well for barber pole worms.  The bottle jaw definitely indicates anemia, as does the lethargy.  Are these goats on the thin side - can you easily see or feel their backbones, ribs and is their tailhead area sunken in? I have found that human iron tablets or the Geritol tonic work better than the red cell - this was designed really for horses and their metabolism is much slower than the goats.  Would re do the Safeguard oral horse wormer again on all of these and be sure to give the higher dosing on the plunger - such as if the goat weighs 100 pounds, three times would be 300 pounds but the higher dose on the plunger from this is 500 and that is where you would put the lock.  The pelleted poop should indicate they do not have other worm issues.  You can use human vitamins (again crushed and dissolved in a little hot water) to help with their energy level.  Hope this helps - Donna


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Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres


All goat health care, nutrition, judging questions about all goats - packgoats, dairy goats, pygmy goats, meat goats, fleece goats.


27 years health care/nutrition of all types of goats, 17 years experience in packgoats, 20 years experience in 4H goat projects as leader, superintendent and judge. 20 years experience in putting on goat care/nutrition seminars.

NAPgA, The Evergreen Packgoat Club, 4H, ADGA.

Hobby Farm, many newspapers, 4H newsletters, Packgoat Manuals (youth and general), judging information pamphlets, seminar handouts about health care and nutrition.

4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

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