The use of chicory for parasite control in organic ewes and their lambs

a1 Animal Nutrition and Health Department, Scottish Agricultural College, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, UK
a2 Consultancy Division, Scottish Agricultural College, Craibstone Estate, Aberdeen AB21 9YA, UK
a3 Parasitology Division, Moredun Research Institute, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik EH26 0PZ, UK

Article author query
athanasiadou s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
gray d   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
younie d   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
tzamaloukas o   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
jackson f   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
kyriazakis i   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential benefits of grazing lactating ewes and their lambs on chicory (Cichorium intybus). Fifty-six certified organic twin-rearing ewes were either drenched with an anthelmintic or not, within 2 days after parturition and were grazed upon either grass/clover or chicory pastures. Around 12 weeks after parturition a subset of 12 lambs per treatment was slaughtered for worm number and parasite species determination. The faecal egg counts of lambs from undrenched ewes grazing on chicory were significantly lower than those of lambs from undrenched ewes grazing on grass. Lambs grazing on chicory had similar abomasal worm counts as those grazing on grass at 12 weeks of age; the predominant species was Teladorsagia circumcincta. There was no difference between the intestinal worm counts in lambs grazing on grass or chicory, with Trichostrongylus vitrinus being the predominant species. Liveweight gains over the 126-day experimental period were significantly higher in lambs from drenched than those from undrenched ewes. Lambs from undrenched ewes grazing on chicory had higher liveweight gains compared to those from undrenched ewes grazing on grass. Although chicory grazing did not affect ewe nematode egg excretion, it resulted in lower egg counts in lambs and improved their liveweight gains to the same level as those deriving from drenched ewes.

(Received June 30 2006)
(Revised August 10 2006)
(Accepted August 10 2006)
(Published Online October 11 2006)

Key Words: alternatives; bioactive; chicory; nematodes; nutrition; organic; parasites.

c1 Scottish Agricultural College, Sir Stephen Watson Building, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 0PH, UK. Tel: +44 131 535 3211. Fax: +44 131 535 3121. E-mail: