Due to recurrent cases of enterotoxaemia and ruminal acidosis in goats this study was
carried out with the aim to find an eventual influence of different feed concentrations on the
general health and the health of the rumen in growing goats.
For this experiment, 16 male and one female growing goat, were divided into three groups
and were put into stables. During the whole experiment group 1 got to eat only hay, group 2
got to eat also 30% barley and group 3 was fed with hay and 60% barley. Every group had
access to a watering place and got a mineral salt lick. After a certain feeding time of about
four weeks the final ration was achieved. Here, it was always ensured that the hay: barley
ratio of 70 : 30 and 40 : 60 was kept. The animals were examined clinically every two days,
paying special attention to the parameters pulse, breathing, inner body temperature, ruminal
motor function and stool consistency. Once a week, all goats were subjected to a big general
examination in order to recognize eventual diseases very quickly. In this general
investigation, the animals were also weighed in order to overview their physical development.
Three times during the whole experiment, samples were taken, such as feces, blood, rumen
fluid and feed; once at the beginning, once in the middle and once at the end of the study.
Later on, these samples were prepared and analyzed in the laboratory.
After six weeks, the goats were euthanized and tissue samples as well as fresh rumen fluid
were taken directly. These samples were needed for another study.
In the statistical evaluation of all samples and examination result one came to the conclusion,
that there really found an influence of the feeding on the health of the goats, but it was not
quite clear, if this influence is just due to the feeding or additional due to many other
environmental influences. Also the way of the sample taking and the conditions of the
examination seem to have a substantial influence on the results. But nevertheless, it can be
said, that even in non-significant differences regarding the different feed concentrations, in
animals fed with 60% barley, definitely a tendency towards rumen acidosis can be described.
As it is only a small number of animals in this experiment, the results can be seen as a
preparation for further similar studies.