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Postweaning performance by crossbred Boer kids consuming pelletized alfalfa subsequent to grazing at different stocking rates

A. Amare, A. K. Patra, R. Puchala, G. Detweiler, T. A. Gipson, T. Sahlu, and A. L. Goetsch

E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research, Langston University, Langston, OK

Thirty-two crossbred Boer kids were used to determine effects of different preweaning grazing treatments, influencing ADG, on subsequent postweaning performance while consuming dehydrated alfalfa pellets. Pastures used in the 76-d grazing period (0.4 ha) consisted of grasses such as bermudagrass and johnsongrass and various forbs, particularly ragweed. Stocking rates were 4, 6, and 8 does, each with two kids, per pasture (L, M, and H, respectively). In addition, a fourth treatment (C) entailed 8 does per pasture but with kid access to another 0.4-ha pasture containing mimosa trees. One-half of the does were Boer × Spanish and others were Spanish, with all having kids from Boer bucks. There were two groups per treatment, and four paddocks within each pasture were sequentially grazed in 7- to 14-d periods. Kids were weaned after grazing, with the 84-d subsequent growth phase (four 21-d periods) starting 3 wk later. Four kids from each pasture were used (one from each of four does), distributed into four pens each equipped with an automated feeding system. Initial BW was 17 kg (SE = 3.0) and preweaning ADG while grazing was 76, 61, 37, and 81 g for L, M, H, and C, respectively (SE = 6.7). Postweaning ADG was similar among treatments (56, 42, 49, and 69 g for L, M, H, and C, respectively; SE = 13.8), greater (P < 0.05) for wethers than for doelings (71 vs 37 g), not affected by genotype, and not correlated with preweaning ADG (r = 0.09; P < 0.63). Energy expenditure (EE), estimated each period from heart rate and the ratio of EE to heart rate determined for each animal, was similar among treatments (520, 554, 545, and 551 kJ/kg BW0.75 for L, M, H, and C, respectively; SE = 20.7) and correlated with ADG (r = 0.40; P < 0.0001). In conclusion, differences among preweaning grazing treatments in ADG were not compensated for in a postweaning confinement phase with a pelleted alfalfa diet.


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