This experiment was aimed to determine proper physical traits in the diet for goats by investigating the effects of physically effective neutral detergent fiber (peNDF) content on dry matter intake (DMI), digestibility, and chewing activity in black goats fed with total mixed ration (TMR).
Recently, comparative research on the mechanisms and species-specific adaptive values of attributing attentive states and using communicative cues has gained increased interest, particularly in non-human primates, birds, and dogs. Here, we investigate these phenomena in a farm animal species, the dwarf goat (Capra aegagrus hircus). In the first experiment, we investigated the effects of different human head and body orientations, as well as human experimenter presence/absence, on the behaviour of goats in a food-anticipating paradigm. Over a 30-s interval, the experimenter engaged in one of four different postures or behaviours (head and body towards the subject-‘Control’, head to the side, head and body away from the subject, or leaving the room) before delivering a reward. We found that the level of subjects' active anticipatory behaviour was highest in the control condition and decreased with a decreasing level of attention paid to the subject by the experimenter. Additionally, goats ‘stared’ (i.e. stood alert) at the experimental set-up for significantly more time when the experimenter was present but paid less attention to the subject (‘Head’ and ‘Back’ condition) than in the ‘Control’ and ‘Out’ conditions. In a second experiment, the experimenter provided different human-given cues that indicated the location of a hidden food reward in a two-way object choice task. Goats were able to use both ‘Touch’ and ‘Point’ cues to infer the correct location of the reward but did not perform above the level expected by chance in the ‘Head only’ condition. We conclude that goats are able to differentiate among different body postures of a human, including head orientation; however, despite their success at using multiple physical human cues, they fail to spontaneously use human head direction as a cue in a food-related context.
The decrease in sequencing cost and increased sophistication of assembly algorithms for short-read platforms has resulted in a sharp increase in the number of species with genome assemblies. However, these assemblies are highly fragmented, with many gaps, ambiguities, and errors, impeding downstream applications. We demonstrate current state of the art for de novo assembly using the domestic goat (Capra hircus) based on long reads for contig formation, short reads for consensus validation, and scaffolding by optical and chromatin interaction mapping. These combined technologies produced what is, to our knowledge, the most continuous de novo mammalian assembly to date, with chromosome-length scaffolds and only 649 gaps. Our assembly represents a ∼400-fold improvement in continuity due to properly assembled gaps, compared to the previously published C. hircus assembly, and better resolves repetitive structures longer than 1 kb, representing the largest repeat family and immune gene complex yet produced for an individual of a ruminant species.
Bronchopneumonia is a population limiting disease of bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) that has been associated with contact with domestic Caprinae. The disease is polymicrobial but is initiated by Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae, which is commonly carried by both domestic sheep (O. aries) and goats (Capra aegagrus hircus). However, while previous bighorn sheep comingling studies with domestic sheep have resulted in nearly 100% pneumonia mortality, only sporadic occurrence of fatal pneumonia was reported from previous comingling studies with domestic goats. Here, we evaluated the ability of domestic goats of defined M. ovipneumoniae carriage status to induce pneumonia in comingled bighorn sheep.
Restoration of lost species ranges to their native distribution is key for the survival of endangered species. However, reintroductions often fail and long-term genetic consequences are poorly understood. Alpine ibex (Capra ibex) are wild goats that recovered from <100 individuals to ~50,000 within a century by population reintroductions. We analyzed the population genomic consequences of the Alpine ibex reintroduction strategy. We genotyped 101,822 genomewide single nucleotide polymorphism loci in 173 Alpine ibex, the closely related Iberian ibex (Capra pyrenaica) and domestic goat (Capra hircus). The source population of all Alpine ibex maintained genetic diversity comparable to Iberian ibex, which experienced less severe bottlenecks. All reintroduced Alpine ibex populations had individually and combined lower levels of genetic diversity than the source population. The reintroduction strategy consisted of primary reintroductions from captive breeding and secondary reintroductions from established populations. This stepwise reintroduction strategy left a strong genomic footprint of population differentiation, which increased with subsequent rounds of reintroductions. Furthermore, analyses of genomewide runs of homozygosity showed recent inbreeding primarily in individuals of reintroduced populations. We showed that despite the rapid census recovery, Alpine ibex carry a persistent genomic signature of their reintroduction history. We discuss how genomic monitoring can serve as an early indicator of inbreeding.
The domestic goat (Capra hircus) plays a key role in global agriculture, being especially prized in regions of marginal pasture. However, the advent of industrialized breeding has seen a dramatic reduction in genetic diversity within commercial populations, while high extinction rates among feral herds have further depleted the reservoir of genetic variation available. Here, we present the first survey of whole mitochondrial genomic variation among the modern and historical goat populations of Britain and Ireland using a combination of mtDNA enrichment and high throughput sequencing. Fifteen historical taxidermy samples, representing the indigenous ‘Old Goat’ populations of the islands, were sequenced alongside five modern Irish dairy goats and four feral samples from endangered populations in western Ireland. Phylogenetic and network analyses of European mitochondrial variation revealed distinct groupings dominated by historical British and Irish samples, which demonstrate a degree of maternal genetic structure between the goats of insular and continental Europe. Several Irish modern feral samples also fall within these clusters, suggesting continuity between these dwindling populations and the ancestral ‘Old Goats’ of Ireland and Britain.
The Tibetan cashmere goat (Capra hircus), one of the most ancient breeds in China, has historically been a critical source of meat and cashmere production for local farmers. To adapt to the high-altitude area, extremely harsh climate, and hypoxic environment that the Tibetan cashmere goat lives in, this goat has developed distinct phenotypic traits compared to lowland breeds. However, the genetic components underlying this phenotypic adaptation remain largely unknown.
Using a comparative approach, we investigated the ability of dwarf goats and sheep to use direct and indirect information about the location of a food reward in an object-choice task. Subjects had to choose between two cups with only one covering a reward. Before making a choice, subjects received information about the baited (direct information) or non-baited cup (indirect information). Both goats and sheep were able to use direct information (presence of food) in the object choice task. After controlling for local enhancement, we found that goats rather than sheep were able to use indirect information (i.e., the absence of food) to find a reward. The actual test setup could not clarify whether individual goats were able to inferentially reason about the content of the baited cup when only shown the content of the non-baited cup or if they simply avoided the empty cup in that situation. As browsing species, feral and wild goats exhibit highly selective feeding behaviour compared to the rather unselective grazing sheep. The potential influence of this species-specific foraging flexibility of goats and sheep for using direct and indirect information to find a food reward is discussed in relation to a higher aversion to losses in food acquisition in goats compared to sheep.
The palatability and chemical composition of Longissimus lumborum muscles from 24 Boer goat castrates (eight goats per treatment), finished on diets varying in energy content (9.7, 10.2 and 10.6MJ ME/kg feed), were evaluated by a trained sensory panel on a line scale ranging from low to high intensity for aroma, flavour and texture attributes. Physical measurements as well as proximate analysis were performed for each sample. No differences (P>0.05) were found between the dietary treatments for any of the attributes analysed. Lamb flavour and aroma were the most prominent attributes, while only low levels of goat-like flavours were detected. Juiciness and tenderness had a strong correlation (r=0.864) and were rated to be moderate. The findings suggest that energy density of feedlot diets can be varied to still produce chevon with uniform meat quality characteristics.
Progressing economic development in Southeast Asia has increased regional demand for goat meat, leading to expanding production by smallholders and recently, development of commercial farms. In Laos, an emerging export market for goats into Vietnam has led to increased goat numbers, with potential increases in risk of disease, particularly endoparasitism. A cross-sectional survey investigated the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites in indigenous Kambing-Katjang goats on smallholder farms (n = 389) in 8 villages where no anthelmintic treatments were in use, providing comparisons with a case study of imported Boer crossbred goats (n = 45) on a commercial farm where intensive anthelmintic treatments were required to manage mortalities attributable to Haemonchosis. Clinical examinations, collection of faecal samples, and pathological examination on the commercial farm, accompanied collection of information on animal gender, age and body weight, with data analyses performed in Genstat. Faecal samples contained eggs of multiple endoparasitic species, with Strongyles spp. and coccidian oocysts of Eimeria spp. most prevalent. Significant associations between the presence of endoparasites and the farm type (smallholder versus commercial; p < 0.008 and 0.001) were observed, with the odds ratios of the commercial farm having Stronglyes spp. and Eimeria spp. of 1.3 (CI = 0.6-2.9) and 4.8 (CI = 2.5-9.1). Mortalities from endoparasitism were only recorded at the commercial farm, with the loss of 24 goats in the final 3 months of the dry season (Feb-April). This study identified a moderate prevalence of multiple endoparasitic species in smallholder goat farms that appeared well-tolerated, whereas in the developing commercial system, endoparasites posed significant risks to enterprise viability, even with use of anthelmintics. Further studies on endoparasite control are required if commercial tropical goat meat production is to prove sustainable and assist in addressing regional food security, plus provide a pathway to improve the livelihoods of Lao goat smallholders seeking to expand and intensify their enterprises.