Cultivated Pastures Affect Nutrient Intake and Feeding Behavior of Sheep

  • J. V. Emerenciano Neto Federal University of Vale do São Francisco, Academic Collegiate of Animal Science
  • G. S. Difante Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences
  • H. R. Medeiros Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Specialized Academic Unit in Agrarian Sciences
  • E. M. Aguiar Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Specialized Academic Unit in Agrarian Sciences
  • L. S. Fernandes Federal University of Paraíba, Center of Agrarian Sciences
  • T. F. M. Trindade Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Specialized Academic Unit in Agrarian Sciences
  • M. G. S. Bezerra Federal University of the Semi-Arid Region, Program in Soil and Water Management
  • H. C. B. Oliveira Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Specialized Academic Unit in Agrarian Sciences
  • R. C. P. Galvão Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Specialized Academic Unit in Agrarian Sciences
Keywords: Brachiaria brizantha, grazing, LIPE®, Panicum maximum, rumination


Cultivated pastures may increase the meat production of sheep, but it is necessary to understand the plant-animal relationships in a pastoral environment. This study aimed to assess the effect of forage cultivars on the intake and feeding behavior of sheep. Four treatments were evaluated, consisted of the cultivars Panicum maximum cvs. Aruana and Massai and Brachiaria brizantha cvs. Marandu and Piatã. Twenty-four sheep, male of the Santa Inês genotype, were used with six replications per treatment. Daily forage and nutrient intakes were evaluated in addition to time in grazing, rumination, and leisure activities. The animals in the pasture of Aruana grass demanded the most extended times of grazing and rumination (p<0.05). The leisure time was higher (p<0.05) in the animals kept in pastures of Piatã grass. The highest intakes of dry matter and crude protein in g/day (p<0.05) were found in the animals kept in the pasture of Marandu grass, and a smaller intake was found in the animals kept in the pasture of Massai grass. Intake of leaf blades was higher (p<0.05) in the animals kept in pastures of Massai and Marandu. The neutral detergent fiber intake did not differ among the cultivars. It is concluded that pasture structure and chemical composition of tropical forage cultivars influence the nutrient intake and feeding behavior of sheep. The low leaf blade offer of the pasture of the Aruana grass negatively affects the feeding behavior of the sheep, but the crude protein in forage of this cultivar favors the nutrient intake, feed conversion, and performance of sheep.


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How to Cite
Emerenciano Neto, J. V., Difante, G. S., Medeiros, H. R., Aguiar, E. M., Fernandes, L. S., Trindade, T. F. M., Bezerra, M. G. S., Oliveira, H. C. B., & Galvão, R. C. P. (2020). Cultivated Pastures Affect Nutrient Intake and Feeding Behavior of Sheep. Tropical Animal Science Journal, 43(2), 117-124.