Effect of supplemental sericea lespedeza leaf meal pellets on gastrointestinal nematode infection in grazing goats

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Feeding sun-dried sericea lespedeza [SL; Lespedeza cuneata (Dum-Cours.) G. Don.] reduces gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) infection in goats fed in confinement, but effects of this forage when fed as a supplement to goats on pasture are unclear. A study was completed in which supplemental feeds (75 and 95% SL leaf meal pellets and a commercial pellet, all fed at 0.91. kg/head/day) were offered to thirty growing male Spanish goats (9 months old, 20.6 ± 2.8. kg, 10/treatment) grazing perennial warm-season grass pastures in Fort Valley, GA, from September to November, 2010. Fecal and blood samples were taken from individual animals weekly to determine fecal egg count (FEC) and packed cell volume (PCV), respectively, and animal weights were recorded at the start and end of the trial. After 11 weeks grazing, animals were slaughtered for recovery, counting, and speciation of adult GIN from the abomasum and small intestines. There was no difference in FEC between goats fed the 75 and 95% SL leaf meal pellets, but both groups had lower (P< 0.05) FEC than the goats fed the commercial pellets from days 35 to 77. The PCV values were not affected by the dietary treatments. Animal gain per day averaged 102.0, 77.2, and 53.3. g for goats fed 95% SL, commercial, and 75% SL pellets, respectively (P< 0.05). The 95% SL leaf meal pellet goats had 93.0 and 47.3% fewer (P< 0.05) total (male + female) adult Haemonchus contortus and Teladorsagia circumcincta, respectively, than control animals, while only male H. contortus were lower (47.6%; P< 0.05) in 75% SL-fed goats compared with commercial pellet-fed animals. Feeding supplemental SL leaf meal pellets improved animal performance (95% SL pellets) and reduced worm burdens (75 and 95% SL pellets) in young grazing goats and is a useful tool for natural GIN control in small ruminants. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

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Veterinary Parasitology

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