Reply To: Research Development Panel

  • Denise

    February 26, 2024 at 4:21 pm

    Having conducted real scientific studies that are published in journals, I’d say that if this is something you ever wanted to try to get published (or even have statistically analyzed for significant differences), you’re going to want to have as few variables as possible…meaning you’re better off having fewer farms that are bigger. This is the number one thing that will kill any statistical power – 50 farms with 10 goats each is going to be REALLY hard to show a valid difference whereas 10 farms with 50 goats would be MUCH easier to get to statistical significance.

    Other factors to consider:
    -Climate or region (you’d ultimately need to account for temperatures, I’d think)
    -Pregnancy status
    -Age of goats
    -Breed of goats
    -Length of time on buffet
    -Kidding history (in relation to buffet – before and after…# kids, ease of kidding, any health complications, etc.)
    -Parasite resistance…fecal samples maybe? (I have no idea if the buffet would actually increase resistance, but I’m all for collecting more data and finding no difference than wishing it had been done but being unable to go back and do it)
    -Hair tissue mineral analysis would also be interesting either quarterly or twice per year? This could probably be on just a portion of the herd along with blood tests?
    -Measure amount of consumption in weight over volume
    -Have a spot of people to note any additional interesting insights…this might spark the need to add tracking of that issue, benefit, etc. for everyone

    Ideally, you’d have some farms that were the same size(ish) in the same region and have one farm do the buffet and the other not do the buffet for measuring any health outcomes. In an EVEN MORE ideal world, you’d then have those two farms switch where the one started and the other stopped for the next period of time (a double crossover study). But probably nobody will want to stop the buffet once they start, lol.

    These are just the thoughts that come to mind easily. I can think on this some more!