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

G. Animut, A. L. Goetsch, R. E. Estell, R. C. Merkel, L. J. Dawson, T. Sahlu, and R. Puchala

Small Ruminant Research 54:197-212. 2004.

Twenty-four Boer crossbred yearling wethers (23.5 ± 2.31 kg initial BW) were used to determine effects of stepwise increases in dietary level of Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) foliage (CF), compared with a constant relatively high level and subsequent availability of low-quality forage, on present and later consumption of CF. Animals were penned individually in Phases 1 (8 wk) and 3 (2 wk), and during Phase 2 (6 wk) wethers were kept in a pasture not containing cedar trees and were fed wheat hay. In Phase 1 a concentrate-based diet (CBD, 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 level of substitution of CF for CBD (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). In Phase 3 (2 wk), all wethers were offered the diet of 75% CBD and 25% CF as previously, without or with separate free-choice access to low-quality grass hay. CF was harvested weekly, refrigerated and hand-mixed with CBD prior to feeding. In Phase 1, 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: 90 and 71; wk 6: 96 and 81; wk 7: 93 and 63; wk 8: 96 and 84), although CF intake as g/day was greater (P < 0.05) for Set vs. Step in all but wk 7 and 8. In Phase 3, CBD intake was similar among treatments, and hay intake when offered averaged 149, 134 and 124 g/day for Step, Set and Control, respectively. For wethers not receiving hay, CF intake as g/day for Step was greatest among treatments (P < 0.05) but was not different from treatments with offered hay (67, 37, 30, 55, 53 and 56 g/day for Step, Set and Control without and with hay, respectively; SE = 7.1). Similarly, CF intake as a percentage of that offered 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 and Control without and with hay, respectively; SE = 7.6). Concentrations of various blood constituents at the end of Phases 1 and 3 did not indicate adverse health effects of CF consumption. In conclusion, gradual increases in dietary level of CF deserve further research as a potential means to elevate present and future CF consumption, with attention also directed to effects of type and level of other feedstuffs offered.


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