The reproductive performance of milk goats fed a ration deficient in vitamin E

Wilson, John
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Animal Science
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Animal Science

Six female milk goats were placed on a ration in which the vitamin E had been destroyed by treatment with ferric chloride dissolved in ether. These females together with their offspring were kept on the vitamin E deficient ration exclusively over a period of two years;The ferric chloride treated ration fed to the goats was tested with rats to determine if the ferric chloride treatment had been successful in the destruction of vitamin E. Out of the 97 gestations by test rats on the goat ration, 89 resulted in resorptions, 2 resulted in litters which were due to failure to confine the rats to the goat ration, 5 resulted in litters which may have been due to vitamin E from other sources and one terminated in a litter which was probably due to the presence of vitamin E in the goat ration. These rat tests indicated that the goat ration was seriously deficient in vitamin E but not entirely devoid of it;During the two years the goats were confined to the vitamin E deficient ration their reproductive performance was carefully observed. In that period, 13 gestations resulted in the delivery of 21 live kids and 2 kids which were dead at birth. The two dead kids were apparently normally developed, however. Minor reproductive disturbances among the female goats occurred but could not be traced definitely to lack of vitamin E. The 13 successful gestations included 2 by kids which were born after their mothers had been on the vitamin E deficient ration for 11 months. These kids had been raised on the ferric chloride treated ration and gave birth to normal young in their first gestation period;The results show that milk goats were continued on a ration quite deficient in vitamin E over a period of two years without serious interference with their reproductive performance. No conclusive statement that goats could successfully reproduce if kept on a ration absolutely devoid of vitamin E for a long period of time is yet justified.