December 23, 2019

Interpretive Summary: Diet and preslaughter stress effects in goats

Interpretive Summary: Diet and preslaughter stress effects on gut microbial populations and meat quality characteristics in goats

By: Anne Wallace

In this December 2019 ASAS-CSAS Annual Meeting and Trade Show abstract published in the Journal of Animal Science, researchers investigated ways to improve the meat quality characteristics of goats. They specifically evaluated the effects diet and preslaughter transportation stress had on the meat quality and gut microbiota of male Spanish goats.

Goats were fed one of three different diets in this study: a diet consisting of sericea lespedeza (SL) hay, bermuda grass hay, or 75% bermuda grass hay with a corn-based supplement. The reason for evaluating SL was due to its high content of condensed tannins, which may improve digestive health when added to animal feed. Preslaughter transportation stress was for 90 minutes, or not at all.

Meat quality in this study was not found to be significantly affected by diet or preslaughter stress. Coliform bacteria in the rectum and rumen, and rectal pH, were also unaffected. However, there were significantly less aerobic bacteria counts in the rumen and rectum of goats fed SL hay, compared to bermuda grass hay.

Overall, this study suggests that a diet containing SL hay may have the potential to alter some types of rumen and fecal bacteria in male Spanish goats. The significance of these findings and their potential impact on production would need to be evaluated in more detail.