Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
-Ann Voscamp

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fecal Floatation: Should I Do This At Home?

There are some advantages to learning to do your own fecals on your animals at home. It could potentially save you quite a bit of money. If it typically costs you $25 to take a sample to the vet for testing, you could pay for the equipment you need to do it yourself in the first four uses. Another good reason is that you can keep better track of what's going on with each animal. Because it's essentially free for you do do it yourself and you won't have to make any special trips, you can do fecals as often as needed on as many animals as needed.
Doing separate fecals on each animal will give you better information on who needs treatment and who doesn't. Usually not all animals will carry a heavy worm load, but you may have one or two animals with a lower resistance who are troubled more often than the others.
If you, like me, don't have a vet nearby who is well acquainted with goat medicine, it may be an especially good idea. For me to rely on a vet for a proper worm identification and proper knowledge of wormer use and dosages, I would have to get my samples and drive three hours to the nearest vet I've found who claims to at least "like" goats, and has some experience with treating them.
Not all vets know that almost all goats will have at least a couple of worm eggs in their sample, but this won't usually cause the goat any trouble at all. If this were the case with your vet, you would almost certainly end up overusing chemical wormers, which would lead to resistance to them on your farm. Once that occurs, you will really be up a creek without a paddle.
If you're the one doing the fecals, you get to decide how many eggs is too many. You'll become familiar with each goat in your herd and what is normal for them. This will help you spot any real problems that will call for treatment.
If you're feeling unsure of whether or not you're spotting the eggs in the sample, or if you are identifying them properly, perhaps you can find someone who can be relied upon to double check your results. Once you gain confidence in your ability, you will be able to stay on top of what is often the most difficult part of managing a healthy herd.
Here's the place I learned about doing fecals.
There's a link on the site for the microscope I purchased (about $85 with the shipping added on from Amazon).

Happy poop checkin'! :)


  1. I certainly don't feel qualified to answer your blog post question . . . but I've got to say it has to be one of the more interesting and attention-grabbing titles I've seen on a post in a long time!

    Seriously though, many kudos to you, Patty, for being such a conscientious goat mama.

  2. Haha! That's okay, MamaPea, you don't have to answer it. The post is actually my attempt to help answer that question for others. :) I know that it's the best option for me here. Being 3 hrs. from the nearest "goat vet" I've found makes it important to learn to do all I can. Thank you for your compliment though! You always bolster my confidence. I think it's a gift of yours. :)

  3. My reasoning for wanting to do our own fecal exams is basically monetary-based. $22 per goat, we have six goats (right now, more to come of course). A microscope is on the wish list thie year. Thanks for the link, will have to check it out.

  4. Did you have any idea when you decided to get these adorable little creatures that we would spend so much time thinking about, researching, pondering, checking and just down right obsessed with poop?? lol

    I know I didn't.

    Blessings Kelsie

  5. LOL! No, I didn't! I mean, really, I read a lot and pretty much thought, "Okay, I think I've got this." Classic case of the more I learn the less I know. But, they are adorable, for sure. I'm actually really going to miss them when they go to the breeder next month. I'm hoping they go into heat fast so they can come back home. :)