Parasites and weight gain

I have a few does who have been struggling to put weight on. They don’t have hay belly and don’t seem to eat any more than usual but they are under conditioned despite having constant access to hay and pasture and regular access to alfalfa pellets. We had parasite issues last year around this time (rainy season!) and while the signs aren’t all the same, I am again assuming that it’s internal parasites. What can I do (if anything) in addition to deworming to help them get back in condition? Is this one of the times where adding as much grain as needed would have more benefit than not? 

Secondly,  two of my does have passed tape worms in the last month. Neither had been dewormed prior to passing the worms. Should I still deworm them after seeing the worms passed? 

Whatever is causing the problems for everyone is not negatively affecting FAMACHA scores. I’m assuming this is because all of my goats are regularly supplemented with COWP. 


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  • You are so very welcome!

    Just keep a close eye on them. If anything else changes in addition to being a little under weight, or if the weight does not improve with the grain addition, it may be time to consider de-worming ;)


  • Thank you so much. Neither of the girls in question are in milk right now which is why they hadn’t been getting the extra grain but I think I might just need to continue with it at certain times during the year regardless of milk status. Thank you so much you guys have been such a huge help with my transition from coast to another the last year!

  • Hi there Maggie!

    Are the does in milk? If so, they should be on grain in addition to the alfalfa pellets and hay. If they are not in milk, grain is certainly a good way to get them back to correct body condition. Also- do they get loose GOAT minerals free choice?

    If they have great FAMACHA scores, I would not de-worm. The COWP boluses are likely helping to keep your barber pole population down, and therefor, your FAMACHA scores in good range.

    Tape worms are really nothing more than a nuisance. The segments will break off occasionally, and that is what you see in the poop. But they do not 'normally' cause a huge problem for the goats, as they feed on the food in the goat's GI tract, not off of the goat directly. I say 'normally' because a massive load could theoretically cause a blockage, but I am fairly certain that is on the rare side. Deborah has repeated a line that she heard from a presenter at a conference many times, "Tape worms cause more distress for the farmer, than they do for the goat." Just because we can see the disgusting little things =) Since your girls are not in best body condition, and you want to consider de-worming for the tapes, I would recommend a tapeworm specific anthelmintic. I use praziquantel that my vet has specially compounded for me. You can also use one of the benzimidazole de-wormers like Valbazen, but then you run the risk of building a resistance to it, by worms that really matter, like Barber Pole. 

    Here is an article Deborah wrote about different de-wormers  -

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