Home Tools Worm testing

Worm testing

Aside from drenches at one or two strategic times the mob’s average worm egg count should be the basis for other drenching decisions.

Structured reading

For those who like to see all the information and simply read through it in order. Each heading is a link to a page of information—the dot point provides a summary of the page.

Tip: Keep this page open and open the links in new tabs.

Checking a mob of goats for worms with a WormTest
How-to guide to collect and submit samples for a mob worm test to a laboratory.

Worm egg counting
How worm egg counting is carried out.

Assessing worm burdens without a WormTest
Other ways to assess whether goats have worms and what level of worms exist.

Collecting dung samples from individual goats (optional)
How-to guide on collecting dung samples from individual goats (for drench resistance tests or genetic assessment of worm resistance).

Worm testing for stud goat breeders (optional)
How-to guide for stud goat breeders who want to gain worm egg count values for individual goats.

Question and answer

For those who prefer a problem based approach to learning, answer the following questions.
Each of the questions below links further down the page to the answers.


  1. How many individuals should be sampled for a WormTest?
  2. Name a standard time when you should WormTest.
  3. What 2 things does a larval culture tell you and how these help you make a drenching decision?
  4. Name a situation when you would drench without a WormTest?


You can also click on each question below to go to WormBoss pages with related information.

1. How many individuals should be sampled for a WormTest?

Collect the number of samples per mob as recommended by your laboratory. Ideally this would be from at least 20 goats or if you have less than 20, from all the goats you own.

2. Name a standard time when you should WormTest.

WormTests can be done at any time; however there are certain routine times to WormTest (preferably with a larval culture):

  • Pre-shearing for fibre goats.
  • Pre-kid marking for does. (Generally, there is no benefit from drenching kids at kid-marking, however, if a WormTest indicates that the does need drenching, the kids should also be drenched).
  • Pre-weaning fordoes. (Not for kids as they will be drenched at weaning).
  • From weaning time, WormTest all groups of goats at 4 week (summer) or 6 week (winter) intervals after they have been given a short-acting drench. If a persistent drench is given, use the Drench Decision Guide to decide when a WormTest should be done.

3. What 2 things does a larval culture tell you and how these help you make a drenching decision?

A WormTest refers to a ‘Worm Egg Count Test’ or ‘WEC test’; it will identify the number of worm eggs in faeces, which is a good indication of the worm burden of the goat. Some laboratories can also perform a ‘Larval Culture’ (also called a ‘Larval Differentiation’) to identify the types of worms present and their proportion (the importance of this varies according to your location).

4. Name a situation when you would drench without a WormTest?

A) When giving a quarantine drench.

B) When giving a strategic drench. The timing of strategic drenches depends on the region and the class of goat, as their use is closely associated with times when goats are most susceptible to worms or  when development of eggs to infective larvae on pasture is likely to be extremely low (to reduce pasture contamination) or high (to pre-empt likely immediate problems). Strategic drenches are given regardless of the average worm egg count of the herd.

There are six common strategic drenches; not all are used in every region. The WormBoss programs outline which strategic drenches to use in each region.

  • Pre-lambing does
  • Kids being weaned
  • Winter weaners going into low worm-risk paddocks
  • Smart grazing as used in sheep
  • Summer drenches—temperate winter rainfall regions 
  • Summer-autumn drenches—Mediterranean climatic regions

Details of when/how to use strategic drenches are in Your Program.

Links to the learning topics for Australian smallholders

  1. Introduction
  2. Grazing management
  3. Breeding for worm resistance
  4. Worm testing (you are currently on this page)
  5. Drenching
  6. Drench resistance management
  7. Goat worms