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Behaviour of confined sheep fed with different concentrate sources

Comportamento ingestivo de ovinos confinados alimentados com diferentes fontes de concentrado

A.H.H. Minervino C.M. Kaminishikawahara F.B. Soares C.A.S.C. Araújo L.F. Reis F.A.M.L. Rodrigues T.A.F. Vechiato R.N.F. Ferreira R.A. Barrêto-Júnior C.S. Mori E.L. Ortolani About the authors

In this study we examined the effects of different feed concentrates on sheep behaviour. Our hypothesis was that citric pulp would stimulate rumination and be capable of replacing other concentrates traditionally used for feeding in confinement, to reduce the risk of urolithiasis. Ten adult Santa Inês sheep were distributed in a Latin square with five different diets, one control diet with 80% hay and 20% commercial feed and four diets containing 30% coast-cross hay and 70% of the following concentrates: pelleted citrus pulp, citrus pulp meal, cornmeal or wheat bran. After 21d of adaptation to each one of the five diets, the sheep were visually monitored for 24 h at 3 min intervals to record the time spent ruminating, time spent eating and time spent resting; the animals' positions (standing or lying down) were also noted. Daytime was considered to be from 06:00h to 18:00h. The data were evaluated using ANOVA, with Tukey post-hoc test or throughout Two-sample T test for circadian and position assessment. Citrus pulp diets resulted in time spent ruminating similar to the control diet (601, 590 and 669 min, respectively), but greater (P<0.05) than the cornmeal group (421min), which showed that citrus pulp generated effective rumination. The estimated saliva production in the control diet (26L) was greater than in the other groups, and was greater in the citrus pulp groups (24L/d) than cornmeal (21L/d). Feeding with cornmeal led to shorter time spent eating and time spent ruminating than all other diets. The sheep had higher time spent resting at night when fed concentrates (P<0.05). For all diets, about 90% of the time spent ruminating occurred with the animals lying down. Pelleted citrus pulp, citrus pulp meal and to a lesser degree wheat bran, led to adequate time spent ruminating. The use of citrus pulp can act as a preventive management measure to reduce the incidence of urolithiasis in sheep flocks.

feed behaviour; citric pulp; rumination; urolithiasis; cornmeal

Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Escola de Veterinária Caixa Postal 567, 30123-970 Belo Horizonte MG - Brazil, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2041, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2042 - Belo Horizonte - MG - Brazil