Redberry Juniper Consumption Does Not Adversely Affect Reproduction of Meat Goats
Keywords:abortifacient, aversive feedback, Juniperus, monoterpenes, meat goats
Goat browsing can slow the encroachment of juniper (Juniperus pinchottii and Juniperus asheii) onto rangelands, but potential detrimental effects of monoterpenoids on reproduction are unknown. We determined whether redberry juniper consumption by pregnant goats caused abortions or reduced offspring neonatal viability. Pregnant Boer-cross nannies (n = 19) were randomly divided into four treatments, three treatments fed redberry juniper 1 h daily for 22 d during one of the three trimesters and a control group fed alfalfa pellets throughout gestation at 2% BW to meet maintenance requirements. In a pasture trial, pregnant nannies (n = 20) were placed on juniper dominated rangeland throughout gestation; juniper preference was monitored once monthly via bite count surveys and fecal NIR analysis. In both trials, birth date and weight, offspring number, sex, and vigor scores were recorded at parturition. Kids were weighed on days 14 and 28 postpartum. No abortions occurred as a result of redberry juniper consumption and no differences (P > 0.05) were observed in offspring number, vigor scores, or weight. Predicted juniper in goat diets on pasture was similar. Producers can use goats as a management tool for slowing juniper encroachment onto rangelands without causing abortions or reducing neonatal viability.