The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of replacing corn silage with sugarcane in the diet of lactating Saanen goats and to determine their intake and digestibility of nutrients, ingestive behavior, milk yield and composition. The experimental diets were composed of increasing levels (0, 33, 66 and 100%) of substitution in dry matter (DM). Twelve multiparous Saanen goats, with an average body weight of 45.2kg, average milk yield of 3.0kg day-1, distributed in a triple latin square experimental design (4 × 4) were used. The dry matter intake (DMI) and other nutrients were estimated through the difference between the total nutrient in the food offered and its total in the leftovers. The DMI, crude protein, neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and total digestible nutrients were not influenced, but the apparent digestibility of DM and NDF decreased. Feeding time and feeding efficiency were not influenced, the rumination and total chewing times increased, and the leisure time decreased, both linearly. Milk yield was not influenced by substitution levels, but corrected milk yield to 3.5% fat decreased. Sugar cane represents a dietary alternative for goats with medium milk yield in critical periods of forage, since it does not change the consumption of DM and milk yield, even with the apparent declining digestibility of some nutrients, influencing the ingestive behavior of the animals.
digestibility; fiber; milk yield; ruminants