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J Anim Sci. 2007 Mar;85(3):861-70. Epub 2006 Nov 3.

Anthelmintic and nutritional effects of heather supplementation on Cashmere goats grazing perennial ryegrass-white clover pastures.

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Servicio Regional de Investigación y Desarrollo Agroalimentario (SERIDA), Area de Sistemas de Producción Animal, Consejería de Medio Rural y Pesca, Principado de Asturias, 33300 Villaviciosa, Spain.


To investigate anthelmintic and nutritional effects of heather supplementation in goats grazing perennial ryegrass-white clover pastures, 40 dry Cashmere goats were randomly assigned to 4 treatments in a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement: 2 grazing management treatments (supplementation with heather vs. nonsupplementation) and 2 anthelmintic treatments (treatment vs. nontreatment). Goats grazed continuously from May to September 2004. At the end of the grazing period, the number of dead goats due to gastrointestinal parasitism was 1 in the group supplemented with heather and dosed with anthelmintic, 4 in the group that received neither supplementation nor anthelmintic, and 0 in the other 2 groups. For goats that did not receive anthelmintic treatment, the percentage of heather in the diet was negatively correlated with fecal egg count in August (r = -0.59, P < 0.05) and September (r = -0.49, P < 0.1) and positively correlated (r = 0.54, P < 0.05) with BW changes during the grazing season. Therefore, the correlation coefficient between BW change and fecal egg count was negative (r = -0.62, P < 0.05). Rumen ammonia concentrations were always lower in supplemented goats (P < 0.05). However, VFA concentrations were greater in goats consuming heather (58.9 vs. 50.9 mmol/L), which suggests that ruminal fermentation was not adversely affected by consumption of tannins. Heather availability in the vegetation might represent a valuable opportunity and sustainable method to control gastrointestinal nematode infections in a goat production system based on grazing perennial ryegrass-white clover pastures.

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