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Feed Intake, Digestibility, and Growth of Spanish kids Consuming Different Quality Diets

T. Wuliji, A. L. Goetsch, R. Puchala, S. Soto-Navarro, R. C. Merkel, G. Detweiler, T. A. Gipson, and T. Sahlu

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

Fifty-two Spanish kids (average initial BW = 13.5 ± 0.06 kg) were used in an experiment with two 9-wk phases. Three diets were used: prairie hay consumed ad libitum and supplemented with 0.125% BW (DM) of soybean meal (average = 21.4 g/d; H), dehydrated alfalfa pellets consumed ad libitum (A); and a 70% concentrate diet consumed ad libitum (C). Treatments were A in Phases 1 and 2 (AA), C in Phases 1 and 2 (CC), H in Phase 1 and A in Phase 2 (HA), H in Phase 1 and C in Phase 2 (HC), and A in Phase 1 and C in Phase 2 (AC). Dry matter intake in Phase 1 was lowest (P < 0.05) for HA and HC and greater (P < 0.05) for AA and AC than for CC (636, 502, 385, 352 and 634 g/d), and DMI in Phase 2 was 839, 629, 834, 636 and 805 g/d (SE = 12.6) for AA, CC, HA, HC, and AC, respectively. Average daily gain for AA, CC, HA, HC, and AC, respectively, was 81, 79, 0, 0 and 86 g (SE = 17.6) in Phase 1 and 73, 54, 112, 82, and 92 g (SE = 29.9) in Phase 2. Apparent total tract DM digestibility, determined at the end of the performance period with five animals per diet, ranked (P < 0.05) H < A < C (39, 54, and 66%, respectively). Likewise, ruminal pH was greatest for C and lowest for H (P < 0.05; 6.0, 6.5, and 6.8 for H, A, and C, respectively). The concentration of total VFA in ruminal fluid at 4 h after feeding was 35, 104, and 68 mmol/L for H, A, and C, respectively (SE = 3). In conclusion, dehydrated alfalfa pellets supported performance of Spanish kids as great or greater than that with a concentrate-based diet, when fed continuously and following consumption of a low-quality forage-based diet.


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