Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I'm embarrassed to admit something to my blog readers.  But I feel that in order to provide "full disclosure in farming" here at Krazo Acres, I must.

My goat has lice.

When my Mom was over during our beautifully strange almost-70-degree weather on Monday, she asked why Nettie's goat was all scraggly looking.  I told her that it looks like she's been biting at her coat to scratch.  So I went up to Nettie for a closer inspection, brushing her hair back to smooth it out, then parting the hair around her top line, I finally spied a tiny black, elongated looking bug.  I plucked it off her and took a good look at it.  And it looked exactly like this:

Not my picture, but found it on the web & it looks exactly like
the bug I found on Nettie.
I gave her another quick once-over, but didn't see any more.  Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough.  But just seeing that one bug, and the fact that Nettie had a dozen little spots on her coat where she was recently scratching/biting made me want to run screaming for the hills.  Lice was something "bad" farmers had.  Lice only appeared on mismanaged, unloved, unkempt livestock.

I went to get the bag of Hy-Yield Garden, Pet & Livestock Dust from the garage, made myself a homemade dusting applicator (i.e. plastic yogurt cup with crapload of holes poked in the lid) and dusted the crap out of her and the rest of her herd mates.  I did the same thing the following day, and spent more time looking through everyone's coat while "trapped" in the milk stand or on their leads while eating breakfast.  But I didn't find any more of the buggers, nor any of the supposed telltale signs of a lice infestation like bunches of white eggs attached to the hairs.

I highly doubt the bug I found was the only one, especially since Nettie was scratching in different areas on her back.  But I was a bit upset that I couldn't find any more of them as I really wanted to take one into the house (dead, of course) and get it under the microscope to properly ID the bugger.

After doing a internet search on products to deal with lice, I also learned a few things about the little skin chewing and blood sucking bastards.  If you're bored, or find your goats scratching a bit more than normal, here are some links to goat lice: Lice & More Lice.

Basically are two types of lice that frequent goats; biting lice and sucking lice (I'm pretty certain the one Nettie has is a sucking louse as it's head was in her flesh, kind'a like a tick).  And apparently they are more of a concern in the fall and winter as the summer heat and sun kills the little buggers.

Since the dusting powder does not kill any eggs, I'll have to re-apply the dust again in two weeks.  But I'll be checking her every day now while she's in the milk stand.  If there seems to be no change, I may go ahead and drench her with some Ivermectin.  I wouldn't consider going that far if she were milking, but since we won't have to worry about a milk withdrawal time because she's dried up now, that will probably be my next step.

And Mom, don't worry, goat lice do not live on people, so you can quit scratching!


  1. Boy oh boy, I am learning a lot. Hope you go all of them.

  2. I have to admit my first thought was DANG Carolyn your fingers are wrinkly for being so young!!! Glad that isn't your finger LOL! Sorry about the lice, but thanks for sharing this info its very helpful to newbies like me ☺

  3. You aren't the only one. It's on my list to dust tomorrow. One yearling has most of hair on her legs off. Makes my skin crawl. I don't care how well you take care of animals disease and stuff happens! Heck we should put that on a t-shirt.

  4. Sigh, same here. Mine tend to get the biting lice and there is NO way I can dust the fluffy sheep with their dense, double fleece. I will have to corner them and give them a shot of Ivermectin. Same with the goaties. It's one of the joys of farming. But it does make you itch, even though it's not transferrable.

  5. Don't feel too bad. A few years ago my sons came home from elementary school with head lice! Talk about feeling like a bad parent. Even though I know it has nothing to do with cleanliness it still makes you feel dirty.
    Good luck. Hopefully they are easier to get rid of than fleas.

  6. Carolyn,

    I'm happy to hear you were able to catch the bugger on your goat and diagnosed the situation and resolve the problem.

    This can happen to any farm.

  7. Have you ever looked into using diatomaceous earth (food grade)? Good for many bugs and totally non-toxic...

  8. Arrrgh, just one other little (or not so little?) thing to worry about! Everyone is right . . . when the buggers are out there in nature, they're gonna attack your animals.

    Papa Pea was a public school teacher for umpteen years, and every year or so there would be an outbreak of lice and we'd go into the careful head check mode at home. We were apparently lucky though because neither he nor or daughter ever brought them home. (Itch, itch, scratch, scratch!)

  9. Sorry about the lice but just like Judy, my daughter's school had an outbreak. She had lice. They thought my son did too but it turned out to be a flea!! (cats). My granddaughter's school when through the same thing so I stocked up on that RID stuff. They were in a very good school system, wealthy area. It doesn't mean you are "bad," it just happens.

  10. Don't feel bad. I let my milk cow who I was seeing on a regular base get lousy! Her hair was patchy and I just though she was I dust her now and again with permectrin powder just to be on the safe side. I felt guilty too!

  11. Wow, the stuff I learn blogging! I never even thought about the animals getting lice! (Itch, itch, scratch, scratch) I will be checking them carefully from now on.

  12. I hope your efforts pay off, I know it's rough to deal with stuff like that without feeling itchy all the time LOL!