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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Understanding and Mitigating the Adverse Effects of Poisonous Plants on Livestock Production Systems

Location: Poisonous Plant Research

Title: Feeding preferences of experienced and naïve goats and sheep for the toxic plant Ipomoea carnea subsp. fistulosa

Authors
item Oliveira, Carlos -
item Riet-Correa, Gabriela -
item Lima, Everton -
item Leite, Danilo -
item Pfister, James
item Cook, Daniel
item Riet-Correa, Franklin -

Submitted to: Electronic Publication
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 10, 2014
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Ipomoea carnea is a toxic plant in Brazil that grazing goats and cattle may learn to consume with repeated exposure. The objective of this study was to evaluate the feeding preferences of experienced and non-experienced (naïve) goats and sheep for I. carnea. The study used 3 groups of 5 goats (Group 1, experienced goats that were previously poisoned by the plant; Group 2, naïve; Group 3, experienced but not poisoned eaters) and 2 groups of sheep (group 4, experienced sheep that were previously poisoned by the plant; and Group 5, naïve). For the test, the animals were placed for 10 minutes daily for 4 days in a rectangular stall (5x7 m) with 4 feeders, each with 200g of a different food (Ipomoea carnea, commercial concentrate food, recently harvested green grass (mainly Brachiaria sp.), and Cynodon dactylon hay. We recorded the intake by the sheep and goats of the various options. The intake of concentrate food was significantly higher (P< 0.05) than the consumption of green grass, hay and I. carnea. The second most consumed food by animals in all groups was green grass, with sheep from Groups 4 and 5 differing (P<0.05) in the amounts of hay and I. carnea consumed. In a second 4 day trial, in which the commercial concentrate food was replaced by freshly harvested Amorimia septentrionalis, the ingestion of green grass (Brachiaria spp.) was significantly higher (P<0.05) than the consumption of other foods. The results suggest that experienced or naïve sheep and goats do not prefer I. carnea when it is offered with other foods or forages, suggesting that animals will avoid the plant and not become poisoned if other food options are available.

Technical Abstract: Ipomoea carnea is a toxic plant that grazing goats and cattle may learn to ingest with repeated exposure. The objective of this study was to evaluate the feeding preferences of experienced and non-experienced (naïve) goats and sheep for I. carnea. The study used 3 groups of 5 goats (Group 1, experienced goats that were previously poisoned by the plant; Group 2, naïve; Group 3, experienced but not poisoned eaters) and 2 groups of sheep (group 4, experienced sheep that were previously poisoned by the plant; and Group 5, naïve). For the test, the animals were placed for 10 minutes daily for 4 days in a rectangular stall (5x7 m) with 4 feeders, each with 200g of a different food (Ipomoea carnea, commercial concentrate food, recently harvested green grass (mainly Brachiaria sp.), and Cynodon dactylon hay). The intake of the various food options was recorded. The intake of concentrate food was significantly higher (P< 0.05) than the consumption of green grass, hay and I. carnea. The second most consumed food by animals in all groups was green grass, with sheep from Groups 4 and 5 differing (P<0.05) in the amounts of hay and I. carnea consumed. In a second 4 day trial, in which the commercial concentrate food was replaced by freshly harvested Amorimia septentrionalis, the ingestion of green grass (Brachiaria spp.) was significantly higher (P<0.05) than the consumption of other foods. The results suggest that experienced or naïve sheep and goats do not prefer I. carnea when it is offered with other foods or forages, suggesting that animals will avoid the plant and not become poisoned if other food options are available.

Last Modified: 9/21/2014
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