Friday, August 6, 2010

Sheep Parasites

6 hours of parasite training--that is how I spent my day today. I finally got my training in FAMACHA and fecal egg counting.

The FAMACHA system of knowing when to treat sheep for parasite load was named for its originator Dr. Francois "Faffa" Malan (FAffa MAlan CHArt) . It is basically a small chart that has colors of red and pink that you hold up to the lower eye lid of a sheep to see how anaemic it is. That is an over simplification (but not by much). The people at one of the universities in GA have the charts in this country and won't sell you this little chart unless you get a signed certificate that says you went through training. And now I have the chart and certificate.

The other part of today's training was to understand who the enemies are and what they look like under a microscope. We also learned how to count them.

What really gets to me, though, is that these are systems to determine when you need to give the drugs which are barely working now. They say that drugs are not going to be part of the solution in the future but lets keep using them and combining them and put off finding a better solution.

Enough negativism. There are people looking at predatory fungus and plants with tannins. They continue to say about herbal treatments that "there are not studies available to evaluate either safety or efficacy" which translates to "there is not enough money to be had" (oops, there goes that negativism again).

The important thing to remember is that now I have more tools to monitor the worm load in our flock and I understand new strategies for maintaining sheep health. Six hours isn't so bad when you have a good presenter, good snacks, and sheep to hang out with part of the time.


  1. I agree with you. Its always about the money. They can't patten herbs and herbal remedies. Same problem with heirloom seeds...

    I like hanging out with the sheep too!

  2. I may not have the certification and the chart but now I have a friend who does. Can't wait to hear more about it.