Diurnal ingestive behavior of Nellore steers receiving increasing levels of supplement in brachiaria pasture

The objective this study was to evaluate the diurnal ingestive behavior of Nellore steers on Brachiaria grass pasture submitted to protein and energy supplementation. It was used 40 Nellore steers, at initial weight of 373.7 ± 14.9 kg, and at 26 months of age, distributed in four levels of supplementation:mineral mixture, 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9% of body weight of energy and protein supplementation. The animals were visually observed by two 12-hour periods from 6:00 a.m. to 06:00 p.m. Grazing, ruminating and idle times had a quadratic effect and the trough time had a linear increase effect. The total dry matter intakes were not affected by the supplementation levels. Total consumption of dry matter from pasture and all the variables related to neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber decreased linearly. The number of chews per bolus linearly decreased. The number of grazing periods and time for feed period increased linearly. The time for grazing period decreased linearly. The number of ruminating periods, number of idle periods and time for rumination period suffered a quadratic effect. The number of trough periods suffered a cubical effect. Supplementation compromises the variables related to diurnal ingestive behavior, not only because of the quantity of ingested food but also because of its composition and because of the roughage:concentrate ratio, therefore, attention on meal balance is required.

cattle; ethology; resting; ruminating

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