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FAMACHA being implemented

FAMACHA (FAffa MAlan CHArt) is a selective treatment method for controlling the level of parasitic barber's pole worm (Haemonchus contortus, also known as twisted wireworm) among domesticated small ruminant populations. In contrast with earlier, more aggressive approaches, under FAMACHA only certain sheep or goats in a flock are selected for treatment. Selection for treatment is based on the degree of anaemia the animals are displaying in their mucous membranes, which is assessed through a colour guided chart.[1]


The FAMACHA method of selective treatment was developed by three South African researchers (Drs Francois Malan, Gareth Bath and Jan van Wyk) against the backdrop of major anthelmintic resistance in South Africa.[2][3][4] However, the method has since been implemented successfully in various locations around the world.[5]

The aim of the method is to maintain a sufficient susceptible H. contortus worm population (‘refugia’) on the pasture. By only dosing those sheep in critical need of treatment, selection for worms resistant against treatment is retarded, while at the same time the farmer can monitor and cull those sheep with a poor natural resistance against these worms.[6]


Anaemia (as observed in the mucous membrane of the eye) is assessed via a colour guided chart: a sheep with a score of 1 having a pink-red mucous membrane colour and not requiring treatment for haemonchosis; whereas a sheep with a score of 5 has white mucous membranes, requiring immediate dosing for haemonchosis and probably intensive medical treatment.

FAMACHA chart for anaemia evaluation


  1. ^ Harlow, Ivory (19 February 2016). "FAMACHA scoring to identify parasite risk in small ruminants". Farm and Dairy. Archived from the original on 20 February 2016.
  2. ^ Bath, G.F.; Malan, F.S; van Wyk, J.A. (1996). "'The "FAMACHA" ovine anaemia guide to assist with the control of haemonchosis". Proceedings of the 7th Annual Congress of the Livestock Health and Production Group of the South African Veterinary Association. Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
  3. ^ Van Wyk, J.A.; Bath (2002). "The FAMACHA© system for managing haemonchosis in sheep and goats by clinically identifying individual animals for treatment". Veterinary Research. 33: 509–529. doi:10.1051/vetres:2002036.
  4. ^ Van Wyk, J.A.; Malan, F.S.; Randles, J.L. (1997). "How long before resistance makes it impossible to control some field strains of Haemonchus contortus in South Africa with any of the modern anthelmintics?". Veterinary Parasitology. 70: 111–122. doi:10.1016/s0304-4017(96)01147-8.
  5. ^ Besier, R.B (2008). "Targeted treatment strategies for sustainable worm control in small ruminants". Tropical Biomedicine. 25 (1 (suppl)): 9–17.
  6. ^ Hale, Margo (2015) [First published 2006]. "Managing Internal Parasites in Sheep and Goats". ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture.

External links[edit]

FAMACHA System - American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC)