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Effects of method of exposure of crossbred Boer wether goats to Eastern red cedar foliage on cedar consumption

G. Animut1,2, A. L. Goetsch1, R. C. Merkel1, G. Detweiler1, L. J. Dawson3, R. Puchala1, T. Sahlu1, and R. E. Estell4

1E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research, Langston University, Langston, OK
2Animal Science Department, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
3College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
4USDA, ARS, Jornada Experimental Range, Las Cruces, NM

This study was conducted to determine effects on present and future consumption of Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) foliage (CF) by goats of stepwise increases in dietary level of CF compared with a constant relatively high level and subsequent availability of low-quality forage. Twenty-four yearling wethers (23.5 ± 2.31 kg initial BW) were penned individually in Phases 1 and 3. In Phase 1 (8 wk), a concentrate-based diet (12.6% CP and 35.5% NDF) was offered at approximately 85% of the maintenance energy requirement alone (Control) or with weekly stepwise (Step) increases in substitution of CF for concentrate (0, 1.25, 2.5, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25% in wk 1-8, respectively; DM basis) or substitution of 25% CF in wk 2-8 (Set). Wethers grazed grass pasture in Phase 2 (6 wk). In Phase 3 (2 wk), all wethers were offered the 75% concentrate, 25% CF diet, without or with separate free-choice offering of prairie hay. CF was harvested weekly from male trees and refrigerated; CF and concentrate were hand-mixed prior to feeding. In Phase 1, average total DMI was similar among treatments. Intake of CF as a percentage of that offered was greater (P < 0.05) for Step vs Set in wk 3-8 (wk 3: 86 and 48; wk 4: 89 and 56; wk 5: 94 and 71; wk 6: 96 and 81; wk 7: 93 and 63; wk 8: 96 and 84), although CF intake as g/d was greater (P > 0.05) for Set vs Step in all but wk 7 and 8. In Phase 3, concentrate intake was similar among treatments, and hay intake when offered averaged 149, 134, and 124 g/d for Step, Set, and Control, respectively. For wethers not receiving hay, CF intake as g/d for Step was greatest among treatments (P < 0.05) but was not different from treatments offered hay (67, 37, 30, 55, 53, and 56 g/d for Step, Set, Control, Step+hay, Set+hay, and Control+hay, respectively; SE = 7.1). Similarly, CF intake as a percentage of offered CF ranked (P < 0.05) Step > Set > Control without hay, but was not different between Step without hay and treatments with hay (78, 41, 34, 61, 57, and 60% for Step, Set, Control, Step+hay, Set+hay, and Control+hay, respectively; SE = 7.6). In conclusion, gradual increases in dietary level of CF deserve further research as a potential means of elevating present and future CF consumption, with attention also directed to type and level of other feedstuffs offered.


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