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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Finishing Lambs and Goat Kids on Pasture

item Turner, Kenneth - Ken
item Cassida, Kimberly
item Belesky, David

Submitted to: Proceedings of the Annual Appalachian Opportunities Symposium
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/11/2009
Publication Date: 7/27/2009
Citation: Turner, K.E., Cassida, K.A., Belesky, D.P. 2009. Finishing Lambs and Goat Kids on Pasture. In: Morales, M., editor. Proceedings of the Appalachian Small Ruminant Grazing Workshop. Improving Small Ruminant Grazing Practices, July 11, 2009, Beaver, WV. p. 3-13.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Producing goats and lambs for ethnic markets offers an economic opportunity for small farm producers in the Appalachian Region of the U.S. There are a variety of forages used in goat and sheep production systems. Overall, nutrients available to ruminants depend upon the types and combinations of plant resources grown. Weaned goat kids require 65-68% total digestible nutrients (TDN) and 12-14% crude protein (CP) in the diet while weaned lambs require 75-81.8% TDN and 14.5-16% CP in their diet. Rotational stocking of livestock on paddocks can improve forage use, maintain plant persistence and productivity, and provide a high nutritive value forage (especially TDN and CP) for finishing goats and sheep on pasture. When finishing goat kids and lambs on pasture, producers can maintain low production costs and have options to sell animals at different times and at a variety of weights that will satisfy niche markets. Meat packers who supply meats to ethnic markets typically desire healthy goat kids and lambs under 1 year of age and weighing 60 –70 pounds without excessive fat. Other sectors of the market desire younger animals weighing 25-50 pounds. Research at AFSRC in 2007 indicated that goats finished on alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) or orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) produced desirable body weights and carcasses for ethnic markets. Katahdin lambs and Boer x Kiko meat goat kids finished an orchardgrass-red clover-white clover (Trifolium repens L.) pasture with and without whole cottonseed (Gossypium hirsutum L.) supplementation produced desirable body weights and carcasses for ethnic markets. Heavier weight (> 80 lbs) Suffolk lambs finished on pasture with and without supplementation may fit better into the traditional or Kosher meat markets. Also in this study, the number of anthelmintic doses administered for control of the gastrointestinal parasite Haemonchus contortus was reduced 38% when using the FAMACHA© system.

Last Modified: 06/26/2017
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