My First Lab Duo-Scope MicroscopeI’m gearing up to start doing my own fecal analysis for my sheep, to assess their parasite loads. I paid for two lab tests last winter, but at $60 per test, I realized that could quickly pay for a microscope, and give me a lot more flexibility on when and whom I want to monitor.

FiasCo Farm’s website gave me both great encouragement and excellent, detailed instructions on doing fecal floats. I decided to follow her advice to the letter, and purchased the very microscope she specifies: the “My First Lab” student microscope made by C&A Scientific. It’s only $80, so a no-brainer compared to paying for lab tests all the time!

If you follow the link on her website, she appears to get a kickback from Amazon for the microscope order; but that’s ok with me, I appreciate all her advice. I did poke around a bit to see if there were other student microscopes that were significantly cheaper, but this seemed like indeed one of the best deals around. And I feel better knowing that she finds it adequate, and it has further endorsement from her chemist father.

Of course, there are some recurring expenses for doing fecal floats: slides (though I think you can wash and re-use them for a while), coverslips, and Epsom salt for making a flotation solution, and craft sticks. But that’s pretty minimal. I also ordered a gram scale, test tubes and holder, and beakers. Sometimes it’s better for me when I’m trying to adopt a new habit is to just buy all the appropriate stuff, rather than try to be creative and make it or find it in the house. So, when it all arrives, I should be set to go, doing a little poop lab in the kitchen! 😉 Do you think Kirk will be asking me, what is that in the test tube there next to the bananas? 😀

The microscope came with a few educational slides- a fly’s leg, frog blood, tree pollen, (sounds like a witches’ brew!), a mouth smear, and some others. They were fun to look at and provided enough practice with using the microscope that I’ll be ready for manure flotation next. I must have used microscopes in biology class in junior high and high school, but I don’t remember. I only recall using them in chemistry class in college, and even that was some time ago! So, the aptly named “My First Lab” microscope will certainly be true for home use!