Research & Trials
The first trial to assess the efficacy of Early Bird took place in 2020, and the results of this trial were published in 2022.
Each year since 2020, there has been a new field study completed. Check back here as new data continues to become available.
If you have a herd of llamas, alpacas, sheep or goats over 50 in the northeastern United States and you would be interested in entering your herd into a study, please contact us!
Assessment of an Herbal Feed Additive on Reducing Gastrointestinal Nematodes in an Alpaca Operation
Journal of Veterinary Medicine & Health
Our first field trial took place from August 2020 to November 2020 and utilized a herd of 36 alpacas in Waretown, New Jersey. The herd was under significant reproductive demands, with half of the females in the study being pregnant, lactating, or lactating while pregnant. The study population was treated with Early Bird three times from August to November, and you can read all about the results in the resulting article published by the Journal of Veterinary Medicine and Health. The article is open access and can be accessed either by downloading a PDF or by viewing the article online.
Here is the PDF for download:
Here is a link to view the article on the Journal of Veterinary Medicine and Health's website:
If you're looking to read a quick summary of results without reading the whole paper, those are summarized below. However, we, the authors, encourage you to read the paper if you have the time, because there are many details that describe how this product functioned in the test environment. The paper also discusses what the drawbacks or the weak points of the study are, and these are important points to consider for any scientific process.
In summary, the alpaca population was treated with Early Bird three times, with two weeks between each treatment. The parameters that we measured were body condition score, FAMACHA score, and fecal egg counts of naturally occurring parasites (the herd carried Haemonchus, Strongyloides, Trichuris, Nematodirus, and Eimeria).
From the baseline to the end of the third treatment, body condition scores increased, FAMACHA scores decreased, and fecal egg counts decreased. Specifically, body conditions of 3 (Ideal) rose from 50% to 55% of the herd, body conditions of 2 (underweight) decreased from 39% to 17%, and body conditions of 4 (overweight) increased from 9% to 26%. FAMACHA scores that indicated anemia and significant worm burdens, such as FAMACHA scores of 4, decreased from 23% to 3%. Desirable FAMACHA scores that indicated no anemia and low worm burdens increased from 9% to 47% of the herd. Fecal egg counts from a range of 100-600 eggs per gram (depending on species of worm) existed in 33% of the test population before the first treatment, but only 8% of the test population after the first treatment.
From the first treatment to the second treatment, those 8% of individuals carrying a moderate, mixed species worm burden further decreased to 4%, and after a third treatment, down to 2%. This means that at the end of three treatments of Early Bird, 98% of the individuals in the test population had completely clean fecal tests with no parasites seen. This was accomplished without any traditional dewormers, without any other supportive measures, and in the absence of any medications, all during a period of high reproductive demands.
While this first trial was a very promising one, we have run two trials using sheep since then. Diagnostic methods and experimental designs of the sheep trials are more stringent and will help to confirm what we have seen here in August 2020.
As always, Dr. Masur can be contacted using this website, or by calling 848-224-5046, and is always willing to take a deeper dive into the nitty gritty details of this trial. Please do not hesitate to reach out to her with your questions on this article.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, through the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under subaward number ONE20-371.
Assessment of a Composite Herbal Feed Additive on Reducing Haemonchus contortus in a dual-purpose sheep operation
This study builds upon the previous study, which showed that Early Bird significantly decreased gastrointestinal nematodes during peak reproductive pressure in a healthy alpaca herd. However, the investigators wish to challenge Early Bird against a population of sheep experiencing significant mortality and morbidity due to Haemonchus contortus. This population of 60, including both Dorpers and Icelandics, have a history of drug resistance across multiple classes of dewormers.
This project will employ diagnostic methods more sophisticated than the previous trial in cooperation with the Cornell Animal Health Diagnostic Center. The authors hope that by using a different species with a more detrimental parasite burden, and advanced diagnostics, we will have a better understanding of the limits of herbal parasite control.
Manuscript in first stages of drafting as of August 2022