Ninety 4-month-old wether lambs were allocated to an initial slaughter group (n =10) or to one cell (n= 5) of a 4 × 4 factorial treatment design involving four levels of infection with Ostertagia circumcincta (0, 1000, 2000 and 4000 larvae/day) and Trichostrongyluscolubriformis (0, 1000, 2000 and 3000 larvae/day). They were maintained indoors in individual pens and offered freshly cut ryegrass-white clover herbage during an 84-day period of infection after which they were slaughtered. Body protein, fat, water, Ca and P contents were determined. Feed digestibility was determined in all sheep during 5-day periods during weeks 2, 5, 8 and 11. Faecal egg counts were determined and blood samples obtained at intervals and total worm counts done at slaughter.
The effects of mixed infection on feed intake and body-weight gain were multiplicative. Mean D.M. intake of sheep infected simply with 3000 larvae of T. colubriformis or with 4000 larvae of O. circtimcincta was reduced by 10 and 8% respectively, but in those infected simultaneously intake was reduced by 30%. Energy retention was depressed mainly by reduction in gross efficiency of use of metabolizable energy in infections with T. colubriformisand by reduction in feed intake in infections with O. circumcincta. The additional effect of mixed infection occurred mainly through further depression in feed intake.
There was no interaction between infections in effect on deposition of Ca or P in the body, both species having significant effect. Infection with T. colubriformis caused hypophosphataemia and hypocalcaemia, but infection with O. circumcincta had no effect.
The number of worms established by the infections was generally low compared with previous studies with conserved and concentrate feeds. This was associated with relatively low pathogenicity in infection with O. circumcincta and normal pathogenicity with T. colubriformis.
Infection with T. colubriformis reduced the number of adult worms of O. circumcincta present at slaughter.