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Creep Feeding To Control Parasitism

Over a two year period, Brazilian researchers evaluated the effect of creep feeding with a protein supplement on the susceptibility of nursing lambs to infection with gastrointestinal helminths. Male and female crossbred lambs were allocated to one of two treatments: 1) creep feeding (0.57 lb/d; 261 g/d); and 2) control (no supplementation. Lambs grazed with the mothers (n=52) on native pastures.

Supplemental creep feeding improved performance of lambs, with creep-fed lambs reaching body weights of 40 lbs (18 kg) in 64 days, whereas unsupplemented lambs required 77 days. Lambs in both groups were susceptible to helminth infections, having mean fecal egg counts >1000 epg as early as 45 days of age, with Haemonchus contortus being the predominant worm species. Creep-fed lambs had lower fecal egg counts >60 days of age. Their mean fecal egg was lower <60 days of age, but a large standard deviation prevented identifying a statistical difference.

Twenty and 40 anthelmintic treatments, respectively, were administered to the supplemented and unsupplemented lambs. However, the effect of creep feeding was only significant after 60 days of age, when 9 and 28 treatments were administered to the lambs.

Creep feeding can be a a strategy to reduce anthelmintic treatments.

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