Creep feeding and its possible interactions with other influential factors (genetics, litter type, and sex) for weaning traits were studied in meat goat kids and their dams. Kids across 3 yr were creep fed (254 kids; 5 pens) or not creep fed (255 kids; 5 pens) from 30 to 90 d of age. Creep-fed kids had higher (P ≤ 0.05) preweaning average daily weight gain and weaning weights (113.1 ± 13.0 g/d; 15.0 ± 0.8 kg) than kids not creep fed (99.8 ± 13.1 g/d; 14.0 ± 0.8 kg). However, financial returns were not higher (P > 0.05) for creep-fed kids compared with kids not creep fed. There was no difference (P > 0.05) in kid conformation score or survival rates between the treatment groups. The only important interaction among kid traits was treatment × litter type (P < 0.05) for FAMACHA scores. Within noncreep pens, single kids had lower (better; P < 0.05) FAMACHA scores (2.9 ± 0.3) than twin kids (3.9 ± 0.3). There was no litter-type effect on FAMACHA scores for kids within the creep feed pens. Dams of the creep-fed (n = 175) and noncreep (n = 178) kids were also evaluated. Treatment did not affect (P > 0.05) litter weights, dam weight change, gross revenue for weaned litters, or fecal egg counts. Treatment interacted with litter type (P < 0.05) to effect packed cell volume (PCV). In the noncreep group, dams raising singles had higher (better; P < 0.05) PCV (18.7 ± 1.3%) than dams rearing twin kids (15.7 ± 1.3%). The litter-type effect on dam PCV was not evident (P > 0.05) in the creep-fed group. Creep feeding improved some kid growth traits but did not improve dam traits or financial returns. Interactions of creep treatment with other factors were minimal for doe-kid traits.
Emily G Hayes, Raquel V Lourençon, Richard Browning, Jr, Effects of creep feeding and its interactions with other factors on the performance of meat goat kids and dams when managed on pasture, Translational Animal Science, Volume 3, Issue 4, July 2019, Pages 1466–1474, https://doi.org/10.1093/tas/txz122