Monday, June 13, 2011

Start of test

The 2011 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test officially started on Friday, June 10. The goats were worked by Jeff Semler, Mary Beth Bennett, Jeanne Dietz-Band, and Susan Schoenian.  Data were recorded by Pam Thomas.

The 80 test goats were weighed by Jeff Semler. Starting weights ranged from 28 to 70 lbs. and averaged 42.4 lbs. (19.3 kg).  During the adjustment period the goats gained an average of 1.4 lbs.  Weight gain/loss ranged from -4.0 to +6.0 lbs. During the adjustment period, the goats grazed in a 2-acre paddock of orchardgrass and MaxQ™ tall fescue.

Some of the goats tackling thistle.

FAMACHA© scores, body condition, coat condition, and dag scores were determined by Susan Schoenian.  FAMACHA© scores ranged from 1 to 5 and averaged 2.18, compared to 1.89 on June 3-4.  Body condition scores ranged from 1.5 to 3.5 and averaged 2.17, compared to 2.11 on June 3-4.  Coat condition scores ranged from 2 to 2.5 and averaged 2.1, unchanged from a week ago.

Daggy goats
The scores that showed the most dramatic change were dag scores. They ranged from 0 to 4 (scale = 0-5) and averaged 0.68, compared to almost zero (0.06) a week ago.  Thirty-five goats (44 percent) showed some evidence of scouring.  The higher dag scores are likely the result of stress and a new diet. As a precaution, those with the highest dag scores were treated with Spectinomycin (Scour-Halt).

All of the bucks, regardless of FAMACHA© scores, were dewormed (by Susan Schoenian) with moxidectin (Cydectin® sheep drench @ 2 ml/11 lbs.) and levamisole (Prohibit® sheep drench @ 3 ml/50 lbs.). The purpose of deworming the goats with anthelmintics from two different chemical families is to clear the worms out of their systems, so that the bucks start the test equally from the standpoint of internal parasite infection.

Drenching a goat

An individual fecal sample was collected from the rectum of each goat.  Samples could not be collected from some goats, due to their mostly liquid feces.  The samples have been sent to Dr. Dahlia O'Brien's lab at Delaware State University.

Individual fecal egg counts (FECs) will be determined using the Modified McMaster procedure. Fecal egg counts on June 23 will be used to measure the effectiveness of the double deworming and will be the first fecal counts to factor into the evaluation of each goat.

The pooled fecal sample collected on June 3-4 will be used to determine the types of internal parasites that were present at the time the goats arrived to the test site. This procedure, which hatches the worm eggs, takes several weeks. The next pooled sample will be collected on June 23.  In previous years, the barber pole worm (Haemonchus contortus) has comprised the majority of worm infection (over 80 percent).

Hanging out in the shed (still needs roof).

Pen-fed goats

The starting weights of the goats for pen-feeding ranged from 38 to 61 lbs. and averaged 42.8 lbs. (19.5 kg).  The goats in the pen will always have free access to grass hay. They will be fed grain once per day.  The feeders will be removed after about 20 minutes.  The eleven goats were slowly introduced to grain during the adjustment period.

 Download June 10 report