I know, I know, many parts of the country are still suffering from a lack of pasture after months of drough. But waterlogged ground isn't great for grass growth either. That's not the problem though. A combination of warm temperatures and wet weather have contributed to our worst Barber's Pole season for years.
Barber's Pole is a nasty worm that can cause anaemia and death, and it acts quickly in goats. The main symptoms we look for are pale membranes (eyes and gums) and water belly which shows as a collection of fluid below the belly of the goat and in the feet and sometimes under the jaw.
We don't regularly drench our goats, and we follow good management practices to minimise the worm burden in the flock. For example, the goats have access to a large, airy shed with ad lib hay and balage in feeding racks. The goats sleep in the shed and when they wake up nibble away at this feed instead of heading out to eat pasture. This means that they're less likely to ingest worm eggs on grass. The Barber's Pole larvae need damp conditions so once the sun has dried off the grass, the goats (who graze at around 7-9cm) don't ingest the larvae.
On the other hand, we can count the number of dry days we've had in the last month on the fingers of one hand and the goats want variety in their diet so even on the worst days will usually head out to the paddocks for a while and that's when the damage is done.
We're drenching as and when we need to but as most drenches are 'off-label' for goats anyway we're very wary of causing drench resistance.
All in all, I'd happily send this lot of rain down to the people that need it.