Date of Graduation

Spring 2010


Master of Natural and Applied Science in Agriculture


College of Agriculture

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Walker


endophyte, fescue, goats, intake, temperature

Subject Categories



The objectives of the study were to determine if consumption of endophyte-infected (E+) ground fescue seed would affect thermoregulation, dry matter intake (DMI), and serum leptin and prolactin values in female meat goats. During a 4-week study, 18 goats were assigned to treatment groups (n=6): endophyte-free KY-31 (E-); endophyte-free STF-43 (E43-); or E+ seed. Goats were fed a ration consisting of a 2:1:1 ratio of alfalfa pellets, sweet feed, and one of three types of ground fescue seed. Orts were collected and weighed daily on a DM basis, while urine, blood and body weight (BW) were collected weekly. Temperature loggers designed for intravaginal insertion collected temperature (T) data throughout the study period. Urine ergot alkaloid levels in E+ does increased after 1 week on treatment (P ≤ 0.03). A treatment x week interaction for total DMI (P ≤ 0.05) occurred week 1 of study. Seed dry matter intake (DMI) was affected (P ≤ 0.02) in the E+ treatment group throughout the study period. No difference in average daily gain (ADG) among treatments (P ≤ 0.22) occurred. A date effect on T occurred at 1600 h (P ≤ 0.002) and at 2200 h (P ≤ 0.0003), while at 0400 h a treatment effect occurred (P ≤ 0.03). At 1000 h, there was a treatment x week interaction (P ≤ 0.01) and a treatment affect (P ≤ 0.06) on T. Leptin (P ≤ 0.03) and prolactin (PRL) (P < 0.001) means changed over time. A treatment effect (P ≤ 0.09) on PRL concentrations occurred throughout the study period. Goats may handle ergot alkaloids associated with toxic tall fescue differently than other species and more research is required to evaluate these potential differences.


© Angela Rene Boyer

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