Saturday, May 31, 2014

77 Bucks Start Test

May 30 -- Seventy-seven (77) bucks started the 2014 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test.

Weights ranged from 31.4 to 67.0 lbs. and averaged 44.4 ± 7.6 lbs. (20.2 ± 3.5 kg). The median weight was 43.4 lbs. (19.7 kg). By way of comparison, check-in weights in the 2013 and 2012 tests were 43.4 ± 9.4 lbs. and 40.4 ± 8.3 lbs., respectively.

After a short adjustment period, starting weights will be determined on June 5-6. An average of the weights taken on June 5 and 6 will be used as the official starting weights.  Final weights will be recorded on August 28 and 29. The sale will be September 6 in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Two of Sam Burke's bucks

FAMACHA© scores range from 1 to 5. Higher FAMACHA© scores indicate anemia (low packed cell volume/PCV) and the need for deworming. In the test, goats with FAMACHA© scores of 1 or 2 will not be dewormed (unless they have bottle jaw), whereas goats with FAMACHA© scores of 4 or 5 will be dewormed. Goats with FAMACHA© scores of 3 may or may not be dewormed, depending upon other criteria and factors. The test utilizes the Five Point Check© to make deworming decisions.

On May 30, FAMACHA© scores ranged from 1 to 3 and averaged 1.6 ± 0.6. No goats required deworming; however, each goat was treated with a drug from each anthelmintic class (moxidectin + albendazole + levamisole) to ensure that they start the test equally and free (as possible) from parasitic infection.

In the 2013 and 2012 tests, FAMACHA© scores averaged 1.8 ± 0.7 and 2.1 ± 0.9, respectively. 2014 may be similar to last year, in which the goats were mostly naive to parasitic infection when they started the test. However, this year, the cool season grass paddocks have more (taller) growth and fewer sheep were used to infect the pastures. The sheep were also removed earlier in the spring. A DrenchRite test done on the sheep farm confirmed that moxidectin (Cydectin®) and levamisole (Prohibit®) are effective against the parasites introduced by the sheep.

Two of John Smith's bucks

There was little variation in body condition, coat condition, dag, and fecal consistency scores.  Body condition scores range from 1 to 5, with 1 representing emaciation and 5 representing obese. In the test goats, body condition scores ranged from 2.0 to 3.5 and averaged 2.3 ± 0.3. The median body condition score was 2.0. A body condition score below 2.0 is usually an indication of poor health, performance, or nutrition. Pasture-reared kids seldom have body condition scores above 3.0, as plane of nutrition obviously has a large effect on body condition.

Coat condition scores range from 1 to 3, with 1 being poor and 3 being good. They are an indication of the general health and thrift of a goat. In the test goats, coat condition scores ranged from 2.0 to 2.5 and averaged 2.0 ± 0.1.

Dag scores range from 0 to 5 and are an indication of scouring, with 0 representing no fecal soiling and 5 representing the maximum amount of fecal matter covering the hindquarters and hocks. Scouring has many causes, but can be a symptom of some GI parasites. No goat had a positive dag score.

Fecal consistency scores range from 1 to 4, with 4 representing solid pellets and 1 representing liquid feces (diarrhea). Only a few goats had soft or liquid feces.

Plentiful forage

A fecal sample was collected from the rectum of each goat. A pooled sample was collected from each consignment. Individual samples will be used to determine individual fecal egg counts. Fecal egg counts are a measure of parasite resistance. The pooled sample will be used to determine which worm species are infecting the goats. Past testing has shown that Haemonchus contortus (barber pole worm) usually comprises the overwhelming majority of infection. Dr. Dahlia O'Brien's lab at Virginia State University will perform fecal testing for this year's buck test.

None of the data collected on May 30 will factor into the test results, as the initial data is more a reflection of past management than genetics. It is for informational purposes only.

Download May 30 (day -6) report