Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An egg hunt in goat poop

Levi collects fresh poop from outside
Our 4H club will be hosting a science and knowledge fair soon, so the kids spend some of President's day working on their projects.  Eva will do a presentation on alpaca conformation, Isaac on what local plants are poisonous to alpacas, Saraiah on how to have a healthy goat, and Levi wanted to use a microscope.  So, I told him he could learn how to do fecal samples.  He didn't think that was a grand idea, but I knew he'd be interested once he got a chance to look in the microscope.  We found a perfectly detailed tutuoral on how to do this at the Fias Co Farm website:

http://fiascofarm.com/goats/fecals.htm#test

I will not go into detail on how to do this because I'm not an expert.  This was my first time to do it with Levi, so I would direct you to use Fias Co Farm's directions.  They are easy to follow and understand and can be done with many things you have around the house, especially if you're a homeschooling family like us!  They also show pictures of the types of parasite eggs, so you know what you are looking for.

These are the supplies they told us to get, and we used most all of it!
I took pictures of each step Levi did for his project board, but I'll share them here to inspire and encourage you to do fecal floats to test your herd health.  Remember to use the Fias Co directions.

The poop
Balancing the scale so that the weight of the container is balanced
Levi had to make a saturated solution of epsom salts for a floating solution for the fecal matter, so eggs would float to the top in the saturated liquid.  Before we collected the poop, he kept dissolving salts in water until they wouldn't dissolve anymore.  They happened to be good smelling salts, which was handy when we were grinding up the poop!




measuring out the 3 grams of poopers


Levi had to mash the poopers with a popsicle stick

Pouring in the prescribed amount of floating solution.  We kept baby wipes around to clean up the area, which was later sanitized.  Ew!
After mixing well, you let it soak and make a nice little tea for a while.  
You strain it.  The tea strainer and medicine cup are now designated for fecal floating
You mash the poop, and I think it's here that you let it sit for a bit.
We had one of those flower holder things when you get a rose from someone and it needs water.  We used that for a test tube and sunk it in some foam.
We were supposed to overfill it so it would pool up at the top, allowing the eggs to float up
We put a microscope slide cover slip over the top of the test tube and let it rest for about a half hour


After the half hour, we took the cover slip off the test tube and put it on a slide.  This is what we had.
Here's the microscope.  It was tricky to find the eggs because of the various layers of focusing you can do (on the class, on the air bubbles, on the vegetation)  Levi looked at it after I got it focused for him,  
This is the only type of worm egg we found.  I don't know if it's a liver fluke or hookworm or barber pole worm or coccidiosis. Tell me if you know!  There were 16 eggs, which isn't alarming, according to Fias Co, but means we will need to do some deworming soon.  

Here's some really cool plant matter.  It was coiled up like a spring










3 comments:

  1. nature is amazing...those microscopic pictures are awesome! Thanks for sharing Ang!! ~Cat

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  2. How did you take pictures at the microscope view?

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  3. Our microscope has only one viewing lens. I stuck my camera lens right over it and manual focused. I was surprised it worked. It didn't work with microscopes with two eye viewer things.

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