Friday, September 3, 2010

Improved conditions

For the past month or so, most of the goats have had insufficient dry matter intake to achieve meaningful weight gains.  The conditions are improving.

Grazing amongst the walnut trees.

Woodland grazing
Today, the goats were given access to a wooded pasture with fresh forage.  Half of the pasture is planted in walnut trees; the other half is planted in mixed hardwoods.  The pasture contains mostly cool season grasses, with some appetizing weeds mixed in.  This pasture is a supplement to the ten acres that are typically used for the goat test.  Fencing renovations were done to make the pasture available to the goats.

Grazing in wooded pasture (mixed hardwoods).

Eating hay
While the goats did not eat much of the first bale of hay they were given (in mid-July), they have practically depleted the second bale that was put out a few days ago. Another bale will be delivered tomorrow. The first bale had become moldy. 

The test site hasn't received enough rainfall to make the grass grow, but apparently it was enough moisture to cause the hay bale to get moldy and unpalatable to the goats. We will continue to feed hay as the goats consume it. The three protein tubs remain untouched.

Eating hay.

Larval culture
The pooled fecal sample collected on July 29 had a fecal egg count of 800 epg.  The worm eggs (Strongyle type) contained in the sample were 100 percent Haemonchus contortus (barber pole worm).  The pooled fecal sample collected on August 25 had a fecal egg count of 1650 epg.  Some coccidia and tapeworm eggs were observed in the sample. The results of the larval culture are pending.

The pooled samples have a significantly higher egg count that the average of the individual samples.  This is because we collect feces from goats that are more likely to have high egg counts (poorer FAMACHA© scores and softer poop).  We do this because if there are not enough worm eggs in the pooled sample, they will not be able to do the larvae culture.  In a "normal" year, we take random samples from every 3rd goat.

They love their picnic table!

The pooled samples are analyzed by Dr. Ray Kaplan's lab at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.  The final pooled sample will be collected on September 23.