Monday, November 3, 2014

"Silver Bullet" of Worm Control

by Paul Casey
Heifer Project International

I manage a 60 ewe sheep flock at Heifer Project International’s Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas. About 10 years ago, we started looking at alternative methods of controlling gastrointestinal parasites in sheep. We tried garlic juice, papaya seeds, pumpkin seeds, an herbal dewormer, grazing chicory, grazing sun hemp, and intensive rotational grazing. In the end, rotational grazing was the only practice we kept.

Sheep flock at Heifer Project International
We implemented stringent culling and rotational grazing at the same time and within a few years parasite problems in the ewes were nearly non-existent. While I know that our strict ewe culling and ewe lamb selection helped reduce our worm problems, I believe the grazing is what made it successful.

By controlling what the sheep eat, when they eat it, and how long they are on a given section of pasture, the manager controls forage intake, forage quality, plant regrowth, and relative ingestion of parasite larvae. Grazing management is the most powerful tool we have for maintaining animal health and performance. 

Read full article at is the web site of the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC), a group of scientists, veterinarians, and extension specialists that was formed due to the widespread emergence of anthelmintic resistant worms in small ruminants.

No comments: