Feeding specific amino acids to increase redberry juniper consumption by goats
Redberry juniper (Juniperus pinchotii Sudw.) is a chemically defended, invasive brush species in western states. Previous research has demonstrated that goats supplemented with escape protein sources will consume a higher volume of juniper. In this study I attempted to increase the intake of juniper by recently weaned, Boer-Spanish cross goats (n = 30) by randomly placing them into four treatments and a control, and supplementing each treatment group with one of the following amino acids: arginine, proline, leucine, and glutamine. Treatments did not have a significant effect on juniper intake (P > 0.05). All goats increased intake over time (P > 0.05). Goats exhibited significant weight gain over the course of the study (P < 0.05). Blood serum metabolites were within normal limits. Future studies on escape protein supplementation may provide a better understanding of small ruminant physiology in relationship to intake of juniper.