Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Goat study underway

In addition to conducting a buck test, University of Maryland Extension will be carrying out a study to determine the differences between pen-fed vs. pasture-raised meat goats. Carcass traits, performance traits, and economics will be compared between the two groups of goats.

The pen-fed goats will have unlimited access to grass hay and be hand-fed grain (whole barley + a protein pellet) once per day, based on appetite.  In last year's preliminary study, grain consumption averaged 1 lb. per head per day over the 100-day feeding period.

Goats in pen

The pasture-raised goats will graze alongside the bucks in the 2012 Western Maryland Pasture Based Meat Goat Test. They will consume a pasture-only diet and will not receive any supplemental feed. Both groups of goats will have free choice minerals.

There are 15 bucklings in each group. They are mostly Kiko and Kiko-cross. On June 2, their average weight was about 38 lbs.

The study goats will be handled bi-weekly. The same data that is collected on the goats in the pasture test will be collected on the goats in the study. At the end of the feeding period, the study goats will be harvested to collect carcass data.

This year's study is being funded by a grant from the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board.

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