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Trop Anim Health Prod. 2012 Dec;44(8):1855-63. doi: 10.1007/s11250-012-0148-7. Epub 2012 Apr 19.

Elephant grass, sugarcane, and rice bran in diets for confined sheep.

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Mestrando do PPGSPAA-UFRA, Bolsista CAPES, Belém, Pará, Brazil.


We aimed to evaluate the effects of diets, based on elephant grass or sugarcane as roughage and corn meal or rice bran as energy concentrate, on performance and body composition in terms of diet intake and digestibility. A total of 30 Santa Ines crossbreds (SIC), castrated male sheep with 19.8 ± 2.0 kg initial body weight (BW) were used. Six animals were slaughtered at the onset of the experiment to estimate the initial body composition for the other animals. The remaining 24 animals were distributed in a completely randomized 2 × 2 factorial design, with four treatments (two roughages and two concentrates) and six replicates. The sheep were slaughtered when they reached 30.0 kg BW. Elephant grass diets provided higher intake and digestibility than sugarcane diets for the following contents: dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fibre, minerals, total carbohydrates (TC), and total digestible nutrients (TDN). Among the concentrates, corn meal diets were associated with higher intakes than rice bran diets for the following contents: DM, OM, CP, TC, and TDN. Animals from all of the treatments exhibited low average daily weight gain and low protein and high fat and energy body levels. Sugarcane and rice bran can be used as ingredients in diets for sheep with low weight gain potential. Regardless of roughage or concentrate types used in diets for confined SIC sheep, performance and body composition remained unaltered.

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