|Zajac, Anne -|
Submitted to: American Forage and Grassland Council Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 16, 2010
Publication Date: June 21, 2010
Citation: Turner, K.E., Cassida, K.A., Zajac, A.M. 2010. Performance, blood parameters, and fecal egg count when meat goats were finished on red clover, birdsfoot trefoil, or chicory pastures. In: Proceedings and Abstracts of the American Forage Grassland Council, 21-23 June 2010, Springfield, MO. CDROM. Technical Abstract: Most farms use forage-based systems for goat production, but control of gastrointestinal (GI) parasites in small ruminants is a major challenge for producers. Some forages may have natural anthelmintic compounds that can help in GI parasite control. This experiment was conducted to evaluate forage production patterns, weight gain, and health patterns when meat goat kids were finished on chicory (Cichorium intybus L.; CHIC); birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.; BFT); or red clover (Trifolium pretense L.; RCL) pastures. Forage mass of plant treatments differed over time; RCL had greater (P < 0.001) forage mass than BFT or CHIC in early June and August. All forages met nutrient needs of growing goats, but changes in nutritive value over time differed among forage species (P < 0.05). Final body weights (lbs) were greater (P < 0.02) for goat kids grazing RCL (67.5) and BFT (65.9) compared to CHIC (60.6). Overall ADG (lb/d) was greater (P < 0.06) for RCL (0.14) compared to CHIC (0.08); BFT (0.13) was intermediate. Blood total protein (mg/dl) seasonal mean was highest in goats grazing RCL (6.6) compared to CHIC (6.1); BFT (6.4) was intermediate. Blood albumin (mean 3.5 mg/dl) and immunoglobulin (mean 2.9 mg/dl) concentrations and packed cell volume (mean 28.7 %) were similar among treatments. Mean FAMACHA© scores (season mean 2.8) were not different among treatments. When averaged over the season, goat kids grazing CHIC (2247) had greater (P < 0.04) fecal egg count (eggs per gram) than RCL (1267) or BFT (1906). Goat kids grazing RCL and BFT were more resilient to GI parasite burdens than goats grazing CHIC. Goat kids finished on all forage treatments produced desirable live weights for ethnic markets.