As a more detailed continuation of a previous study, faecal samples for worm egg counts were collected per rectum from ten marked adult animals in selected flocks of goats, in each of six villages evenly spread out in the communal farming district of Okakarara in eastern Namibia. The study was conducted on a monthly basis from August 1999 to July 2000. Average faecal worm egg counts (FECs) were highest during the warm-wet season, much lower during the cold-dry months and moderate during the hot-dry season. Least square means of FECs were 2140, 430 and 653 per gram of faeces for the three seasons, respectively. Seasonal variation in egg counts was significant (P <0.0001). Gastrointestinal strongyles, and to a lesser extent Strongyloides species, were the predominant parasite groups identified in goats. Kidding rates peaked in the cold-dry season and mortality rates in the hot-dry season. Results of this study suggest that gastrointestinal parasitism may be a problem that accentuates the effect of poor nutrition on small ruminants during the season of food shortages in the east of Namibia and that the use of FECs per se to assess the severity of gastrointestinal parasitic infection in goats followed by chemoprophylactic strategic and/or tactical treatment, may not be the best approach to addressing the worm problem under resource-poor conditions. The use of the FAMACHA© system that identifies severely affected animals for treatment is technically a better option for communal farmers.
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