Effects of herbage intake on goat performance in the mediterranean type natural pastures


ANIMAL SCIENCE JOURNAL, vol.80, no.1, pp.34-40, 2009 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 80 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/j.1740-0929.2008.00592.x
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.34-40
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: Yes


This study aimed at identifying changes in natural pastures during the grazing season and investigating the effects of these changes on pasture feeding potential for high yielding dairy goats. During the study, 12 dairy goats were grazed on a 1.5 ha natural pasture for three months from April to June in 2003, 2004 and 2005. The goats were fed 0.5 kg/day of concentrate as a supplement during the grazing season. Botanical composition, herbage production and intake, crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and acid detergent fiber (ADF) contents of the pasture were determined. Live weight, milk yield, milk dry matter (DM) and fat content of the goats were monitored. The data were analyzed using a linear model, which evaluated the effects of grazing seasons in each year. Based on the three-year average, 87% of pasture was herbaceous plants and the remaining was shrubs in DM basis with Cistus creticus, Quercus ithaburensis, Pistacia atlantica and Asparagus acutifolius being the major shrub species. The herbage yield in June was significantly lower than in other months in all years (P = 0.001). In all experimental years, the CP content of the pasture decreased but the structural carbohydrates increased as the grazing season proceeded. While live weight was not affected by grazing periods except for 2004 (P = 0.001), milk yield significantly decreased with advancing grazing period (P = 0.001). The results of the present study indicate that natural pasture has a supportive effect in April and May on the milk yield of lactating goats which are in mid-lactation, and suggested that supplementary feeding is required in consecutive grazing periods.