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Forage Effects on Parasites

Use of legumes and forbs that contain plant secondary compounds may reduce fecal egg counts and/or improve overall protein nutrition to help animals better tolerate effects of internal parasitism.

During 2009 and 2010, researchers at the Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center in Beaver, West Virginia, monitored the performance and parasite status of meat goat kids finished on chicory, birdsfoot trefoil, or red clover pastures.

Goat kids grazing red clover had greater overall average daily gain compared to those grazing chicory. Birdsfoot trefoil was intermediate. When averaged over both seasons, there was a weak trend for kids grazing chicory to have higher fecal egg counts than those grazing red clover. Birdsfoot trefoil was intermediate.

Typically, goats grazing chicory had higher FAMACHA© scores, while goats grazing red clover and birdsfoot trefoil had similar scores. There was a weak trend for the goats grazing chicory to require more frequent deworming than those grazing red clover. Birdsfoot trefoil was intermediate. Goats with FAMACHA© scores of 3 or greater were dewormed.

Conclusion: Grazing red clover pasture, and to some extent birdsfoot trefoil, appeared to have a beneficial effect on meat goat kid performance and on GIN-parasite infection in comparison to chicory pastures.

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