Goat Health Care covers feeding goats to keep them healthy and includes a section entitled "Say No to Cottonseed in Goat Feed." The major reason given is that it can kill livestock guardian dogs that may happen to eat it. There are also concerns about negative effects on young goats. Now a new study shows further problems with cottonseed fed to young calves.
Dairy Herd Management magazine reports:
A University of California-Davis study recently found that feeding gossypol, a derivative of the cottonseed plant, can negatively impact embryo development in virgin heifers.The study randomly assigned 50 postpubertal heifers to one of three diets which differed in dietary free gossypol (FG) content:
Control diet: 0 mg of FG/kg of BW
Moderate diet: 17.8 mg of FG/kg of BW
High diet: 36.8 mg of FG/kg of BW
Heifers were fed treatment diets for 70 days before superovulation and embryo collection. Heifers were flushed five days after induction of ovulation.
Researchers found that the higher gossypol concentrations increased the number of low-quality embryos produced. Embryos collected from heifers in the high diet had the fewest number of live cells and had cells of smaller diameter. Higher dietary gossypol compromised in vitro development and increased the number of degenerated embryos
Cottonseed meal may seem like a cheap way to feed goats in these hard economic times, but if the above holds true for goats, it may actually cost more in the long run. So just say no!