Feeding Lambs Chicory

The effects of chicory on carcass quality in lambs


There is a growing body of evidence that lambs grazing chicory, especially the variety Puna II, grow faster, and thus finish earlier in the season, and have lower levels of parasitism. Recent studies are demonstrating these benefits both pre- and post weaning (Athanasiadou et al., 2007; Kidane et al., 2008). Although it is not fully understood how chicory exerts its anti-parasitic properties, it may arise from direct anthelmintic effects (Tzamaloukas et al., 2005), (nutritionally) improved host immune responses (Tzamaloukas et al., 2006) and/or reduced larval uptake due to its leaf structure (Marley et al., 2006).

Driven by the practical benefits and fuelled by articles in the popular press, there is considerable increased uptake of chicory by the farming community for finishing lambs. However, little is known about whether finishing lambs on chicory will affect carcass quality, although it can be expected from the more rapid growth that carcasses may be leaner when market weights are reached, compared to finishing more slowly on grass.


The aim of this project was to assess the effect of chicory on lamb quality.

Who did the work?

The work was undertaken by the Scottish Agricultural College and was funded by HCC, EBLEX Ltd, QMS and LMC (Northern Ireland).

To view the Final Report, click here.