While pygmy goats are small, they have a hearty and muscular appearance when reared in optimal conditions. Because goats are susceptible to several types of internal parasites throughout their life, optimal conditions suggest a worming regiment that begins when goats are about eight weeks of age and continues throughout all stages of life. Because worming is unavoidable, knowing when to worm increases efficiency of the wormer and reduces potential illnesses among the herd.
The symptoms of internal parasite infestation in goats include pale gums, lowered eye lids, rough coat and runny stool. If left untreated, internal parasites can make a healthy pygmy fatally ill because they rob the body of all its nutrients. To prevent parasite infestation in pygmy goat herds adult bucks, dry does and altered males (withers) should be wormed for internal parasites four to six times a year depending on the needs of the herd with most breeders worming at the start of a new season.
Worming pregnant does (female goats) is necessary to reduce the chance of passing internal parasites to the kid. Gestating females should be wormed two to four weeks before giving birth; however, because not all wormers are safe for gestating females and care must be taken to select a wormer that is safe to administer to lactating does. Once the doe gives birth, the doe should be wormed again the day following the birth.
Kids (baby goats) are prone to become infested with tapeworms along with other types of internal parasites just like any other goat. Kids should be wormed for the first time by eight weeks of age; this can take place between the third and eighth week of age. Subsequently, kids should be wormed again every four to eight weeks until the age of one year; after which they will pick up an adult worming schedule appropriate for the sex and life stage of the goat.
There are several brands of oral goat wormers on the market and most can be found at livestock supply stores. Some of the most common goat wormers include ivermectine as the main ingredient. However, some goat farmers choose to use holistic and herbal wormers rather than chemical wormers. Herbal and holistic goat wormers can be purchased at livestock supply stores as well as specialty herbal shops that cater to pets. However, some herbal wormers must be administered every day all year long instead of every few weeks.