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Maize supplementation of Pelibuey sheep in a silvopastoral system: fodder selection, nutrient intake and resilience against gastrointestinal nematodes

  • C. Retama-Flores (a1), J. F. J. Torres-Acosta (a2), C. A. Sandoval-Castro (a1), A. J. Aguilar-Caballero (a2), R. Cámara-Sarmiento (a2) and H. L. Canul-Ku (a2)...

Abstract

This trial evaluated the effect of maize supplementation on the ingestive behavior, nutrient intake and the resilience against gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) infection of hair sheep in a silvopastoral system containing tropical grasses and legume trees. In addition, it attempted to determine the metabolic cost of the natural GIN infection in supplemented and non-supplemented animals. Twenty-nine 3-month-old lambs (male and female), raised nematode free, were allocated to four groups: I-NS (infected, not supplemented, n = 8), I-S (infected, supplemented with maize at 1.5% live weight (LW), n = 7), T-NS (treated with moxidectin 0.2 mg/kg LW every 28 days, and not supplemented, n = 7) and T-S (treated with moxidectin and supplemented with maize at 1.5% LW, n = 7). During the 70-day trial, fodder intake, fodder selection, LW change (LWC), red blood cell counts (RBC), hemoglobin (Hb), hematocrit (Ht) and eggs per gram of feces (EPG) were measured every 14 days. Supplement consumption was recorded daily. Metabolizable energy (ME) and protein (MP) consumption from the feeds were estimated. Maize supplementation helped to improve the resilience of hair sheep lambs against GIN infections. The I-S and T-NS groups showed similar LWC, RBC, Hb and Ht (P > 0.05) and both were higher than those in the I-NS group (P < 0.05). No difference was found in EPG between the I-NS and the I-S groups (P > 0.05). No effect of sex was observed in the different variables. Although all groups showed low dry matter intake (DMI) (< 2% LW), supplemented groups (T-S and I-S) showed higher total DMI (fodder + maize; P < 0.05), hence higher ME and MP intakes than the non-supplemented groups (T-NS and I-NS). All groups showed similar fodder selection patterns. The estimated metabolic cost of parasitism was ME = 0.70 MJ/day and MP = 9.2 g/day in the I-S animals. Meanwhile, the cost in the I-NS animals was ME = 1.46 MJ/day and MP = 12.71 g/day. Maize supplementation was an economically viable strategy to control GIN compared with no intervention.

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Corresponding author

E-mail: ccastro@uady.mx

References

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Keywords

Maize supplementation of Pelibuey sheep in a silvopastoral system: fodder selection, nutrient intake and resilience against gastrointestinal nematodes

  • C. Retama-Flores (a1), J. F. J. Torres-Acosta (a2), C. A. Sandoval-Castro (a1), A. J. Aguilar-Caballero (a2), R. Cámara-Sarmiento (a2) and H. L. Canul-Ku (a2)...

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