September 7, 2015

Making Dosage Balls for Goats

Several years ago I began giving my goats an herbal wormer from Hoegger Goat Supply. I've been very happy with the results; their coats were shiny and slick and the fecal counts from the vet were good.

While you can just top dress their feed with the herbal powder, I've found that mine tend to turn over their bowls or just ignore the powder altogether on the bottom of the bowl. By making treats with the powder I am sure that they get the entire dose.

There are several different herbal wormers available for goats from various sources such as Fir Meadow, Land of Havilah, and Molly's Herbals. Some are given daily, others weekly; I wanted a weekly dose rather than daily.

This particular brand of wormer comes in a plastic bag; I keep the bag in a coffee can and glued the instructions to the outside of the can. I keep a set of plastic measuring spoons in the coffee can too.

Adult goats are given up to 1 1/2 teaspoons of the herbal powder, while younger and smaller goats are given 1/2 teaspoon. I give my adult goats one teaspoonful; they aren't as large as many full-grown Nubians that I've met. This past spring, because it was so rainy, I gave them the maximum dose of 1 1/2 teaspoons.

To make the treats, I measure out the amount I need for all of the goats. Because I have four goats that each get 1 teaspoon, I measure four teaspoons of the powdered wormer into a bowl.

Pour a bit of molasses into the bowl. Not too much; you can always add more. Stir it gently.

Add a bit more as needed. You want it to stick together but you don't want it to be too wet. You'll learn what looks right after you do it a few times. If you do put too much molasses in, let it rest for an hour or so and it will dry out a bit.

Then empty the bowl's contents onto a floured board, and squish it together into a ball. Add flour as needed so it won't be sticky. With your fingers, form it into a log.

Use a sharp knife to cut the log into the correct number of pieces. Since I have four goats, I cut the log in half and then each piece in half again. Yes, there are more than four pieces in the photo: I often double or triple the recipe so that the treats are ready-made for the next week or two. They freeze well as long as they're covered well with flour so they don't stick together.

When you first start using an herbal wormer, you need to give a larger dose for several days at first. The directions for this brand say to dose the goats two times a day for three days in a row, then weekly thereafter.

Most goats will love their treats. I've actually been bitten a couple of times by an over-eager goat, and I've learned to put their dosage ball in their feed on the milkstand, or feed them over the fence so I don't get trampled.

You can also use this method to give your goats other herbs when needed. I give slippery elm bark for diarrhea for instance, and I make dosage balls with that too. I've even made dosage balls for dogs using peanut butter instead of molasses.

It did take a bit of encouragement at first though, before the goats learned how good they are. When mine were little, I would open the goat's mouth and pop one in. If they spit it back out, I'd do it again. Eventually they decided I was giving them candy. I "worm on Wednesday" (it's easy to remember) and I think they even know what day of the week it is.

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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  1. Very interesting, Kathi. Thank you for the directions and pictures. Medicinal goat treats. That's a good idea.


  2. Excellent idea, Kathy. Thank you for sharing.
    Have a great day!

  3. Ooops! That's Kathi with an "i", it is.
    Not illiterate, just type too fast. ;)

  4. Fern, I've found that it's easy to dose a goat with just about anything if they are already fond of these dosage balls. Thank you for your comment.

  5. Magnoliasntea, I figured it was spellcheck! lol. Thank you for your comment.

  6. What a great way to give them what's good for them. Love that you can make it up ahead of time too. Thanks for visiting The Maple Hill Hop!

  7. Impressive post--I'm glad you found something that works for all involved!

  8. What a creative idea! I'm always having to hide pills in treats for my dogs. Thanks for sharing at the Weekend Blog Hop at My Flagstaff Home!


    1. You can make them with peanut butter for your dogs, Jennifer.

  9. I have featured this today on the Art of Home-Making Mondays. Thank you for joining us and have a lovely week :)

  10. Thank you, Jes. I hope you have a wonderful week as well.

  11. Can you put your copper bolus in them?

    1. Jamie, you could but you probably shouldn't. Bolusing is more reliable and probably more effective. From what I've read, the time release properties of bolusing help to distribute the copper rods into all of the goat's "stomachs". Here's a link about using a pet pill gun instead of a bolus gun, it might work better for you: Noodleville Adventures: how to copper bolus


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