Both salt cedar (Tamarix ramosissima Ledeb.) and willow baccharis (Baccharis salicina Torr. & Gray) are readily invading rivers, streams, and lake basins throughout Texas. Both outcompete desirable vegetation and reduce biodiversity. The purpose of this study was to determine if goats would consume either plant and if protein supplementation would improve intake. In Trial 1, 36 recently weaned Boer-cross goats were randomly allocated to four treatments. Treatments included feeding salt cedar, willow baccharis, both, or neither plant. Goats were fed salt cedar and/or willow baccharis for 1 h daily for 14 d with intake measured daily. All goats were also fed alfalfa pellets (2% body weight [BW]) throughout the trial to meet maintenance requirements. Goats ate more (P < 0.05) salt cedar than willow baccharis and increased intake of salt cedar over the 14 d of feeding. In Trial 2, 20 recently weaned Boer-cross goats were randomly allocated to two treatments. One treatment received a protein supplement (37%) daily in addition to salt cedar. The other treatment did not receive any additional protein. Regardless of treatment, all goats received alfalfa pellets (2.5% BW) to meet maintenance requirements. Both groups increased intake of salt cedar over 10 d of feeding. Protein supplementation did not improve intake of the plant. Given a choice, goats will consume more salt cedar than willow baccharis and will readily consume the plant. Protein supplementation will not improve intake of the plant, but goats will increase intake of the plant when fed the plant at weaning.
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Vol. 70 • No. 3