All can affect goats. Mites are often a bigger problem for goats than the other external parasites. The lice that affect goats are not the same lice that can affect humans and do not transfer to humans. Ticks do not seem to be fond of latching onto goats but can occasionally be spotted on herd members' fiber. Fleas can be present any time of year.
Lice and mites are especially problematic during colder months when goats stay close together indoors and in springtime when the fleece is long and the rains cause the goats to remain indoors and closer together. We use a homemade Organic Flea, Tick and Lice powder as a general preventive, especially with kid goats, and apply pour-on treatment at the first sign of an infestation.
If you want a good fleece harvest, you MUST check goats' skin for signs of lice and mites monthly and treat accordingly. (Check the lower barrel near the belly area and inside the hind legs as well as the tail area regularly for flaky skin, dandruff, or hair loss.) No one wants flaky or sticky skin particles in their fleece. If goats have sticky fleece, especially around the neck and hind quarters, or if they have mats starting along their bellies and necks before shearing time, we treat them for external parasites. If there is an external parasite problem, we always resort to pour-on parasiticide immediately.
We have had success with a maintenance dose of homemade organic mixture that includes diatomaceous earth. This powder mixture is harmless to humans and goats and seems to be working very well as a maintenance treatment for goat kids, chickens, cats, and dogs. Our powder contains, food grade DE, neem powder, yarrow powder, and eucalyptus essential oil. For light maintenance and for goat kids, we use our homemade powder.
Inside the barn, we use our flea, tick and lice powder on wood walls and along the foundation. It is important to clean all bedding material out of the barn regularly and especially before applying pest control.
If external parasites become a problem on any goat, we apply an Agri-Mectin (generic form of Ivomec) pour-on treatment. Any pour-on for external parasites that is safe for goats may be used. Even though the label may indicate that the product is good to use against internal parasites, this is not usually true for goats.
We always follow instructions on the package of Agri-Mectin Pour-On for dosage but multiply the dose times 3 for goats. For example, the recommended cattle dose of 1 mL per 22 lb. of body weight becomes 3 mL per 22 lb. for our goats. This pour-on can be given at 1 cc per 10 lb. x 3 with no ill side effects. Repeat in 10 days if needed; we always repeat once in 21 days just to kill any remaining eggs or larvae. You may even use rubber gloves and apply the pour-on directly to problem areas, usually along the spine or on the sternum.
Nu-Stock ointment can be administered to problem areas on skin to promote hair restoration, especially if mites are causing the skin problems.
Flaky skin or dandruff may not always signal external parasites. It may be a sign of scurf or rain rot/rain scald which are NOT caused by external parasites. Scurf results from wet climate followed by periods of dryness. Excessive rain or moisture can make conditions ripe for growing excessive bacteria that normally live on the skin to the point of causing a skin infection resulting in scabs and flaky skin. No one wants flaky or sticky skin particles in their fleece. Sometimes shearing simply to clean up the goats and dry the fleece helps. Also, keeping an eye on the skin and bathing the goat at first sign of problems helps identify and begin a treatment regimen for these conditions.
We make our own fungicidal goat shampoo that contains apple cider vinegar, Dawn detergent, glycerin, aloe vera gel, and water. See our For Sale Page for more info.
*Note: We are not veterinarians and do not recommend medications, we simply share information on what works for us and our goats.