Feeding behavior is a multifactorial process with pivotal relevance for the maintenance and survival of ruminants. This study evaluated the effect of gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN), condensed tannin (CT) content of plants, and their possible interaction on the intake and selection of feed resources by Criollo goats in a heterogeneous vegetation. An 8-wk field experiment was conducted in the tropical deciduous forest (TDF) during the rainy season with adult Criollo goats (35.1 ± 6.7 kg body weight [BW]). Goats were assigned to four groups (n = 6): 1) MOX: suppressive treatment with moxidectin (Cydectin 0.4 mg/kg BW subcutaneous every 4 wk), 2) INF: with natural GIN infection, 3) MOX + PEG: treated with moxidectin and dosed with a CT-neutralizing agent (50 g of polyethylene glycol [PEG] diluted in 50 mL of water, per os), and 4) INF + PEG: with natural GIN infection and PEG dosage. Intake was measured using a direct observation method in a 2.2-ha TDF plot. Plant availability was obtained from 30 exclusion quadrants (2 × 2 m). Selection was estimated with the Cheeson index using the ratio of consumed plants and their availability by grouping plant species as shrubs and herbs (with high CT [> 10%], medium CT [> 3% to < 10%], or low CT [< 3%]), vines, and grasses. Neither GIN infection nor CT neutralization influenced intake or selection of feed resources. All groups showed high selection toward grass species (P < 0.001), which may represent a strategy to reduce intake of crude protein and CT from shrubs and herbs. In conclusion, GIN infection and CT neutralization do not influence intake or selection of goats with browsing experience in the TDF. Selection toward grass suggested a trade-off between nutrient harvest optimization and the health risk of GIN infective larvae consumption. Thus, it is necessary to revalorize the TDF as a sustainable feed resource for goats.
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