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Revista Brasileira de Saúde e Produção Animal

On-line version ISSN 1519-9940

Abstract

CORDOVA-TORRES, Alma Violeta et al. Performance of sheep fed forage cactus with total water restriction. Rev. bras. saúde prod. anim. [online]. 2017, vol.18, n.2, pp.369-377. ISSN 1519-9940.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/s1519-99402017000200015.

A lack of water in livestock production can limit the performance of the animals; therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of water restriction on the growth performance of sheep that were fed forage cactus (Nopalea cochenillifera). Forty-two male sheep were used, with an average age and weight of ±100 days and 18.75 ± (2,05) kg , respectively, and they were fed diets containing concentrate, mineral mixture and three levels of substitution (30, 50 and 70%) of Tifton hay with forage cactus (Nopalea cochenillifera). The animals were slaughtered when they reached 32 kg (± 1 kg) of body weight or 90 days. The experimental design was a 3x2 factorial arrangement, forage cactus (30, 50, 70%) x water (with or without water) plus a control group (n=6). Variables were analyzed using Tukey and Dunnett's test at 5% with PROC GLM in SAS software. Voluntary water intake and dry matter intake (DMI) decreased with the inclusion of forage cactus; however, preformed water intake and total water intake increased with the inclusion of forage cactus. Water restriction and its interaction with the treatments had no effect on animal performance. Daily weight gain was higher for the diets with 30 and 50%forage cactus inclusion, at 174 and 155 g, respectively, compared with 90 g for the control diet. Cactus, therefore, can be used as a food supplement and water resource.

Keywords : forage cactus; Nopalea cochenillifera; weight gain.

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