Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE03-497
The goal in this project was to investigate if using a combination of multi-species rotational grazing and a forage high in tannin (serecia lespedeza) could control parasites in goat kids.
A four acre field of Marshall ryegrass was divided into two pieces. Half was fertilized with commercial nitrogen and half was planted with serecia lespedeza. The rye in the serecia pasture was disked, then plowed, and disked again. The goat kids were wormed at thirty days of age and grazed in a separate grass pasture with their mothers. When they were ten weeks old, they were weaned, penned for a few days, and put out on the serecia pasture. Fecal egg counts for parasites were taken at this time. After one month, fecal counts and weights were taken and the goat kids were put on the ryegrass pasture. Heifers that had been on the grass pasture were moved to the serecia. After one month, the goats and heifers were switched again and fecal egg counts and weights were taken again. One month later (10/16/03), the goats were weighed and fecal egg counts were taken for the last time.
Four of the kids had very high egg counts after being on the grass pasture for a month. Their eyelid color was checked for anemia and their fecal egg counts were rechecked after two weeks on the serecia. The counts had gone down enough that they did not need worming. None of the goats on the study were de-wormed with chemical wormer from the time they were 30 days old until the study ended when they were 6 months old. The average fecal egg count declined by 395 in the month that they were on the serecia pasture and increased by 436 in the month that they were on grass pasture. Average weight gain between the two treatments was very similar.
Karen gained at least another $300 in income over the previous year since she had no mortalities in her study group of goats and since all goats in the group grew well despite being fed very limited grain – less than she would normally feed. In the year prior to the study, Karen dewormed every thirty days and still had losses of goat kids plus poor growth of the remaining kids in her flock. She plans to continue to use multi-species rotational grazing in her goat herd to limit exposure to parasites and to continue to graze them on serecia lespedeza.