Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dusting for fun and profit

Its spring, and with a large goat herd as we now have, certain realities happen, like spring goat lice. These little critters are quite common in the spring, and quickly spread from goat to goat, seemingly overnight. This year we had an unusually bad infestation to be dealt with.

Fortunately, an easy fix is diatomaceous earth, food grade.  This magical powder sticks to the fur of the goats and the skin, and thereby the lice. Once on the lice, the microscopic particles of this dust are hard and razor sharp. It gets into the cracks of the exoskeleton of the insects, into the joints and cracks, and literally "wears them out" but cutting their skeleton apart. The parasites die within 48 hours. Other than this physical action, there is absolutely no chemical action from this earth.  In fact it is quite healthful taken internally!

Eggs of these lice hatch in a week or so, which means we repeat this dusting a couple times a week for 2 to 4 weeks, and the lice are gone.  This year, they actually disappeared within a couple weeks.

One session of dusting after milking was handled by Everette and Levi, under Hunter's supervision. They had a ball with the soft white dust (wearing masks to ensure that they didnt inhale too much). Lots of dust got on the ground, which is actually a good thing! but the goats were sufficiently dusted. Good job boys!


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