Saturday, September 26, 2009

Goats lose weight during rut

7:30 a.m. -- The goats were worked today, during a light rain, by Jeff Semler, Mary Beth Bennett, Shannon Uzelac, Susan Schoenian, and Pam Thomas. Jeff Semler weighed the goats. Susan Schoenian assessed FAMACHA©, body condition, and coat condition scores. Susan and Mary Beth Bennett collected individual and pooled fecal samples. Pam Thomas recorded the data.

Over the past 16 days, the goats lost an average of 3.5 lbs. (1.6 kg) or 0.22 lbs. (99 g) per day. Only one goat gained weight (1 lb.), a Kiko consigned by John Smith (VA). The weight losses were disappointing, but not totally unexpected, as the bucks are in rut. The buck observed to be the most sexually aggressive lost the most weight: 10 lbs. or 4.5 kg. Poorer FAMACHA© scores and declining forage quality may also have contributed to the weight losses.

As a result of the widespread weight losses, average daily gain for the 100-day test period declined to 0.138 lbs. (63 g) per day, compared to 0.206 lbs. (94 g) per day for the first 84 days of the test. For the 100 day test period, weight gain for the 60 goats ranged from -0.03 to +0.28 lbs. (-14 to +127 g) per day. Only one goat failed to gain weight, due to reoccuring respiratory problems.

Fecal egg counts from the September 10 collection ranged from 0 to 2,067 eggs per gram and averaged 664 epg, compared to 634 epg for the August 26 collection. The fecal egg count of the pooled August 26 collection was 1,084 epg and consisted of 91 percent Haemonchus contortus (barber pole worm) and 9 percent Trichostrongylus. The September 10 pooled sample is still being processed at the University of Georgia.

Over the past 16 days, FAMACHA© eye anemia scores dropped an average of one-half score. They ranged from 1 to 5 and averaged 2.6, compared to 2.1 on September 10. Eight goats required anthelmintic treatment. There were several very pale goats. Prohibit drench (levamisole, 3 ml/50 lbs.) was used for deworming. Not only is levamisole one of the most potent anthelmintics, but it has a short slaughter withdrawal.

Download September 26 report
Download fecal egg count report
Download FAMACHA scores