We have been experimenting with herbal wormers by researching and combining different ideas for the last couple years. Here are the many facets and steps that we have used together to help manage parasites in our animals down here in the south (southern TN). This region is known for its parasites. It is something we need to be aggressive and deliberate to manage in our livestock.
We use this method for our cows, sheep, goats, donkeys, and dogs with slight modifications which will be noted as they apply.
I must admit however, that we are more diligent in some seasons than others with our consistency and application because of our own personal farming discipline still being honed and developed in us. We are active in family, ministry and community which requires much of our (preferred) time and attention. Our budget is often tight as well…so all this effects our consistency (success and effectiveness) in farming!! What I am about to share with you has really made a difference for us and when hearing about other local farmer’s animal fatalities and struggles….I think we are doing really well with our system – although it is not flawless….or better yet – I think it is safer to say that we are not flawless and likely the shortcomings come from our stewardship being honed. (This is an honest self assessment that every farmer must consider!!) But having said all that, lets get started.
Our method is a holistic one that is implemented in addition to grazing on grass in a passive pasture rotation system, and providing free range minerals and clean well water for their regular diet. We feed no grain or silage to our ruminant animals. In the winter we feed hay since they can not not graze enough to support themselves. Our meat goats lives in our woods which consists of thick brush and there is enough to sustain them on the land through the winter. They are our lowest maintenance animal on the farm thus far.
Our method consists of preventative/maintenance supplementation tonic along with specific herbal deworming (cleansing- attack). We have also started choosing our livestock more deliberately. We choose “low maintenance breeds” that are known for their southern parasite resistance. We made a conscience decision not to use chemical wormers – even as a back -up, “life saving” tool. This took a little time to come to arrive at. After using it sparingly in the beginning, we now believe it weakens our livestock’s immunity and overall health. SO you MIGHT get them through this time…but they always seem to be the ones that have the reoccurring issues. So we employ culling in our breeding and stewardship as another facet of our parasite management. Instead – we try to strengthen our worthy livestock, so the stock (and their offspring) become stronger in resisting parasites. It is a long term approach and it is hard to cull weak stock – but we find it to be wise stewardship for long term farming success. This also provides us with chemical free food for our family. Which is something we value highly.
We have never seen a need to deworm or treat our free range chickens or our farm cats; So we don’t.
1. Daily/Weekly Prevention and Maintenance:
- Apple Cider Vinegar added to their water in a 1:40 (or 50) ratio
- Herbal Wellness Tonic (recipe below) added to their food source, once a week. 3T for each large animal (cows, horses, donkeys) – 1tsp for each small animal (goats, sheep, med/lrg dogs)
Weekly Herbal Wellness Tonic Recipe
This blend is equal parts by weight. It is a lot of herbs, but it will last you. Mixed well and added to food source. I make it in bulk – but you make what you need. If I make a “part” = 2 pounds it fill a 5 gallon bucket. If you have a hard time finding some of these ingredients – try herbalcom.com
Juniper Berry Powder
Gentian Root Powder
Fennel Seed Powder
Barberry Root Powder
Oregano, cut and sifted
Stevia, cut and sifted – half part
2. Herbal Wormer:
Given every 4, 6 or 8 weeks, as needed on a regular cycle. Same dosage as tonic: 3T for each large animal (cows, horses, donkeys) – 1tsp for each small animal (goats, sheep, med/lrg dogs). Do this once a day, for 3-5 days in a row (abstain from tonic herbs that week).
**1 part black walnut powder or chaparral powder
1 part garlic powder
1 part wormwood powder
1/2 part stevia leaf, cut/sifted (optional – it makes it more palatable for them to eat)
2 parts fennel powder
Mix well and store in an airtight bucket. I like to label my buckets with instructions.
I make this recipe in parts because I do not know how many animals you need to treat and what is realistic for your resources. I make mine in bulk, to either fill a 2 1/2 gallon or 5 gallon bucket. If I make a “part” = 1 pound of product, it fits nicely in a 2 1/2 gallon bucket.
** DO NOT use walnut for horses or donkeys. It is toxic to them. Sub chaparral in its place.
Added Daily Maintenance Suggestions:
~Add 3cc (1/2 tsp) of garlic tincture (per animal) to food (recipe below)
~Add 2T plain kefir (per animal) to food
~ Add Basic H Classic, by Shaklee (the original blue stuff – not the new kind , Basic H2) 1/2 tsp per 10 gallons of water.
Garlic Tincture – Good for people too!!
1. Fill your (1/2 gallon) blender up 3/4 way full of garlic gloves.
2. Top it off with cheap vodka ( or half and half grain alcohol to water)
3. Blend until uniformly minced
4. Scrape into a gallon jar, top of with vodka (or 50/50 grain alcohol water mix)
5. Cover and let sit in a warm, dark place for 2 weeks.
6. Strain and store in an air tight container, in a cool dark place.
FAMACHA Method –
We use the FAMACHA method of screening our sheep and goats to monitor their parasite health. Here is an article which explains that, starting on pg 24 of the document. http://www.jackmauldin.com/FAMACHA_Postels.pdf However, it is explained within the context of using chemical wormers for curative purposes, which I have already explained is where we are choosing differently.
Stool Samples – Farming is so glamorous – isn’t it?!
For you real hands-on do-it-yourselfers and homeschooling families. You might consider using a microscope and taking stool samples to monitor the parasite load in your livestock and the effectiveness of your program. We do this as well. Here is a wonderful instructional post from a goat farmer that inspired me. http://fiascofarm.com/goats/fecals.htm