We have a small wooded area/pasture (3/4 acre)in which we keep some of our...

Asked September 13, 2016, 10:41 AM EDT

We have a small wooded area/pasture (3/4 acre)in which we keep some of our livestock. Recently one of our two feeder pigs was diagnosed with 'loads of whip worms' by the vet. Everyone has been treated with safeguard (5 days of treatment). Plan to retreat in 3 to 4 weeks. Should I lime the area to help control the problem? Would this be best to do after this current round of treatment or should I wait until the next treatment? Along with this, when should I move the animals out of this pasture? Now or after the next treatment. We do have limited pasture space and are trying our best to keep manure cleaned up. With this in mind, will it be safe at some point for me to use the composted bedding and manure in my gardens if I lime it? Finally, at least until I think of more concerns, can the whip worms be spread to my chickens too? I greatly appreciate any help you can give. Regards, Jane Hock 919-740-4355

Lorain County Ohio

1 Response

Hi Jane-

There are several species of whip worms, each of which are fairly specific to its host species. Many domesticated animals can get whip worms, including dogs and cats. Chickens can definitely get some types of parasitic worms, but it is not as clear if whip worms are a common problem. In addition, there are some species of whip worms that can affect humans (although this is not a common problem in developed countries). Again, the exact species that is present is the key. More than likely, the whip worms that infected your pigs will not infect you or your chickens, but care should be taken to not come in contact with manure.

Whip worm eggs can survive for a long time in the soil. Very cold temperatures (less than 10F) will likely kill some eggs, but may may not kill all eggs. Sunlight and dry weather does the best job of killing eggs. Lime can help to kill eggs, due to the fact that lime is a dessicant and will help to dry out the eggs. However, be advised that liming will not kill all the eggs.

Keeping your animals out of the pasture is probably the best solution for now, as well as cleaning up as much as possible, mowing grass short to promote drying of the soil and sunlight penetration, and possibly applying lime to areas where manure is deposited.

Feel free to give me a call if you have any other questions. Our office is on Russia Rd., south of Elyria. My contact information is listed below this message.