Question of the Week
Will feeding Diatomaceous Earth help control internal parasites in goats, and will feeding kelp to them prevent Vitamin B deficiency?
Answer: DE has not been proven to reduce internal parasites. Some farmers think it helps, but others have had no success. Researchers have tried several times to find an effect of DE on internal parasites, and have found none. Diatomaceous Earth does help to control flies, but inhaling DE can damage the lungs.
The article by Joan Burke at the USDA/ARS/Dale Bumpers Small Farm Research Center in Booneville, Arkansas (see below), discusses management of Barber pole worm. Another article discussing a workshop held at Langston University in 2000 provides some details on the problem and the options and goals of sustainable internal parasite control. The writer lives in Oklahoma and may be a valuable contact for you.
Goat producers that use kelp or seaweed in their rations seem happy with the results. According to various Web sites marketing kelp products, kelp may be fed to many different species of animals. However, we were unable to find any scientific studies that show the value of kelp when fed to animals. Enclosed is an article showing the nutrient analysis for one brand of kelp, for your information. The article describes the way kelp is used by a dairy goat producer. As you know, the cost of using kelp as a part of your ration may be prohibitive. You'll have to weigh the benefits against the expense.
Vitamin deficiencies may be a result of poor-quality forage, and if so, kelp will not be the best solution.
Beam, Charles. 2000. Sustainable internal parasite control for small ruminants—Workbook report. 2 p.
Burke, Joan. 2005. Management of Barber pole worm in sheep and goats in the Southern U.S. Small Farm Research Update. February. http://attra.ncat.org/downloads/goat_barber_pole.pdf (PDF / 23 kb)
Stultz, Jennifer. 2004. Sea kelp: A healthy choice for dairy goats? Dairy Goat Journal. May/June. www.dairygoatjournal.com/
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