How can I control barber pole worms in my goats? Will dung beetles help?
J.O. OklahomaAnswer: Barber pole worm, or Haemonchus contortus, is a common parasite of sheep and goats. It is impossible to control using only one method. The article linked below about barber pole worms in the South, “Management of Barber pole Worm in Sheep and Goats in the Southern U.S.,” you will note that the title says “management,” not “control.” You will need to use several practices to limit the damage that this parasite can cause. Dung beetles, as you suspected, will help reduce this and other parasite populations. See the ATTRA publication Dung Beetle Benefits in the Pasture Ecosystem to more fully understand how dung beetles work to control parasites that live part of their life cycle in manure. You will learn that if your management practices are favorable to dung beetles, they will be present in your pastures. If not, you won’t have any. They can travel great distances, so they will come to your pastures if you are not using materials that are toxic to them. Also see Integrated Parasite Management for Livestock. It will further your general knowledge on parasite management for sheep as well as other livestock. ResourcesBurke, Joan. 2005. Management of barber pole worm in sheep and goats in the southern U.S. (PDF 23 kb) Thomas, Michelle L. 2001. Dung Beetle Benefits in the Pasture Ecosystem. ATTRA Publication. National Center for Appropriate Technology, Fayetteville, AR. 12 p. Wells, Ann. 1999. Integrated Parasite Management for Livestock. ATTRA Publication. National Center for Appropriate Technology, Fayetteville, AR. 44 p.