Updated: Jan 22
I started interning at Flint Hill Farm in October of 2019. It's the perfect place to gain experience as a student who is majoring in animal and food science. Through this blog I'll go into the difference experiences and opportunities I've had.
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- Medicating Goats
The goats here are some of my favorite animals. We have a group of goats we use for dairy and breeding, as well as two groups of young goats that we can use for events. Some of the younger goats are also available to be purchased.
Some ways I've been involved with managing the herd is through milking, administering medicine, hoof trimming, checking FAMACHA scores, and performing fecal counts.
Below is an image of a young goat's hoof I treated. She was limping, so I checked out her hoof. I washed and cleaned it, after trimming her feet I realized that she had a fungal infection between her toes.
It had been raining a lot recently, so the wet conditions might be why her foot become infected. After thoroughly washing and drying her foot I treated it with this purple liquid generally called gentian violet. It's an antiseptic and can be used to treat fungus. It's also great because it will stay on in wet conditions.
I repeated this a few times over the course of a month. For her last treatment I soaked her foot in a salt and betadine bath.
A couple weeks later and she has been looking much better!
Recently I've been learning on how to perform fecal samples. We do this for the goats and sheep, and we're looking for different parasites. Mainly coccidia (a protozoa) and barber pole worms (Haemonchus contortus). Barber pole worms can be very threatening to goats and sheep, they attach to the stomach and drink their hosts' blood. This can result in anemia and a very weak animal.
The oval shape in the middle of the image is an egg of a barber pole worm. I took this image through the microscope while performing a fecal.
We have been using cydectin to treat our livestock for parasites. We will also give iron injections to the sheep/goats with a very high FAMACHA score.
These types of parasites are very common in livestock, and all livestock will harbor parasites. Issues occur when the parasite load is too high. This can happen with livestock because over time animals will be grazing the same area they drop feces. They consume the eggs of parasites, and repeatedly infect themselves this way. It's important to monitor iron levels, and watch for symptoms of parasites.
After treating our sheep and goats with Prohibit (a dewormer), we performed new fecals a couple weeks later. We couldn't find any barber pole worm eggs. We believe the parasites had built up a tolerance to Cydectin, so the new medication was a good choice.