Research Article Open Access

Inclusion of Barley Fodder in Alfalfa/Grass-Based Diets on Milk Production in Goats and Milking Sheep

Todd F. Robinson1 and Elizabeth Baum1
  • 1 Plant and Wildlife Sciences, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 84602, United States


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of Barley Sprout Fodder (BSF) on milk production and milk composition of Saanen goats and Friesian ewes. Twenty Saanen does (1-year-old) and twenty East Friesian ewes (1 to 5 years old), were selected for this experiment, where each species was divided into four treatment groups. Goat treatments consisted of 0 (CRTL), 758 (BSF1), 1498 (BSF2) and 2270 (BSF3) g wet BSF/d added to an alfalfa/grass hay mix provided in random order. Sheep treatments were similar, but 0, 454, 908, and 1362 g wet BSF/d. The dry matter content of the fodder was 10.7%. A grain mix was fed to the goats (798 DM g/d) and sheep (400 DM g/d) during morning and evening milking. Treatment periods were fifteen days. Feed consumed was measured and milk yield and samples were collected on days 13 and 14. Milk samples were analyzed for milk fat, protein, and lactose. The cheese was made from day 14 milk and milk and cheese were analyzed for fatty acid composition. Total DM intake was between 2.7 and 2.9 kg/d for does and was different (P<0.05) between BSF treatments, 2.6 to 3.0 kg/d for ewes. Milk yield was not affected by BSF treatment. Goat milk yield averaged 2681 g/d across the treatments, while sheep was 1021 g/d. Milk fat content increased numerically from 77 to 82 g/d for goats and 50 to 58 g/d for sheep. BSF did not affect goat milk protein g/d, but sheep milk protein increased from 46 to 53 g/d. Goat milk lactose was not changed with BSF inclusion, while sheep milk lactose increased from 47 to 54 g/d. Total solids were not different from BSF in the diet for goats but was for sheep increasing from 143 to 164 g/d. There were no differences in cheese fatty acid composition for either species. The CRTL diet cost $0.82/day for goats and $0.72/d for sheep, while the high level of BSF inclusion cost $1.06/d for goats and $0.91/d for sheep. Based on the parameters of this study, the inclusion of BSF had relatively no effect on goat milk parameters but did improve milk solids in sheep milk, with no increase in milk yield.

American Journal of Animal and Veterinary Sciences
Volume 17 No. 2, 2022, 122-129


Submitted On: 22 November 2021 Published On: 20 May 2022

How to Cite: Robinson, T. F. & Baum, E. (2022). Inclusion of Barley Fodder in Alfalfa/Grass-Based Diets on Milk Production in Goats and Milking Sheep. American Journal of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, 17(2), 122-129.

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  • Sheep
  • Goats
  • Milk Components
  • Sprouted Fodder
  • Barley