Monday, June 8, 2009

Garlic Barrier, Minerals & Kelp

We are trying a new product this year to fight the never ending battle of sheep worms. Garlic Barrier, a natural product that shows some promise. Instead of drenching, we are providing a "free choice" mixture of kelp, soybean meal, salt and garlic barrier. The sheep love it. We plan on giving them this for 3 days in a row, once per month. That way, they should all get a good dose. If it saves on using chemical dewormers, it will certainly be worth the expense. No one enjoys deworming, that's for sure. We will continue using the Famacha method as well, deworming only the sheep that need it. Don't try using this method unless you've taken a class.
The mineral mixture that sheep need is complex. Every farm is different, and every breed is different. We sent in livers from sheep that we had butchered, and found that we need to do some adjusting on our minerals. Icelandic sheep need more copper than most other breeds. We are now supplementing with goat protein buckets as well as 1/3 goat loose minerals added to our sheep minerals. If we get our copper levels adjusted correctly, we won't be fighting the parasite battle as much. Another bonus, if our copper levels are right, we won't have so much silvering in our dark colored sheep. This spring, this is what we are using for our mineral mix:
8 lb. loose sheep minerals
4 lb. loose goat minerals
4 Oz. Vit. E/Selenium Premix from Pipestone (Icelandics also need ALOT of selenium)
SelPlex—this is a more natural form of selenium. Several Icelandic breeders swear by it, so I’ve started using it is this spring.
Decox--I add this as a preventative before lambing. Sometimes I'll add this early summer to the minerals for the lambs. Also, from Pipestone.
Next to our mineral mix, we have kelp, also offered free choice. Kelp, more commonly known as seaweed, has many benefits:
Improves feed utilization
Excellent source of iodine which helps regulate metabolism
Improves overall production (e.g., milk, weight gain)
Reduces or eliminates breeding problems
Reduces the incidence of white muscle disease in lambs
Prevents wool shedding and increases wool quality in sheep
We are now heading into the hardest time of year to raise grass fed sheep. Vigilance is the most important tool.


tonya fedders said...

Very informative post! We started using the garlic barrier last year and again this year, with great results. (was using prohibit before- it did a great job, but can't seem to find it anymore) We have been drenching, but will try it on the salt mix and see how that goes. I had read about the copper, and icelandics needing it, but had not heard that it would effect the silvering in the wool - very informative. We also feed kelp, s.b.meal, and sel-vit e mix, but will add goat mineral to our mix as well! Thanks for the tips. Have you tried the apple cider vinegar? I gave everyone here 10cc (adults) when I wormed and plan to give it monthly... Your sheep are beautiful! I love the horned ewes - we only have one horned ewe here. (they're much easier to keep hold of!)

Terri and Randy Carlson said...

Thanks, Tonya!
I do add ACV to the drinking water at different times of the year. Also, Vit E during the summer when it's really hot. Looking back at my post, I see I forgot to include the SB meal in my mineral mix.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by - I am enjoying your blog very much! We also use garlic with great results for worming. Have you used diatamaceous earth? We use it in combination with the garlic and minerals. We also use decox prior to lambing. Your sheep are beautiful!

Kelly or Alex said...

Thanks for visiting our blog. The shepard we bought our sheep from uses the garlic barrier. She chemically dewormed them prior to their coming to our pasture. How do you free feed the garlic barrier? I have been told that they get it in a drench. We have much to learn. We love the icelandics, they are a true pleasure.

Terri and Randy Carlson said...

Sheep health and supplements are such an interesting topic. I think smaller farmers have the advantage of trying some alternative methods. I do use diatomaceous earth in our mineral mix (when I think of it). I want to learn to do fecals at home, so I can see if all of these things really work.
I hate drenching sheep! They hate it too. So, I'm always looking for ways to avoid it. If you look on the garlic barrier site, they have a "recipe" for adding it as a feed supplement. It calls for mixing it with quite a bit of oil, I don't know the reasoning behind that. We use a long fence hanging feeder. I mix about 2/3 kelp, 1/3 soybean, a generous amount of salt, then add the mixture of 2/3 garlic barrier 1/3 oil over it, and mix it in, to form a thick paste. The salt keeps them from overeating it, and they just love it. I do this 3 days in a row, hoping that everyone will get their fair share. I will continue to check eyelids, and maybe drench those that are pale with the garlic barrier, as well as one of the anthelmentics. Good luck! fighting worms is the worst part of shepherding.