The effect of dietary ions difference on drinking and eating patterns in dairy goats under high ambient temperature

Objective: The present study was carried out to evaluate the effect of high dietary cation and anion difference (DCAD) rations on diurnal variations in eating and meal patterns, water intake and urination patterns in dairy goats fed under high ambient temperature (HTa).

Methods: Ten crossbred dairy goats during peri-parturition period were selected and divided into two groups of five animals each. Experimental diets were control DCAD (control, 22.8 mEq/100 g dry matter [DM]) and high DCAD (DCAD, 39.1 mEq/100 g DM). The composition of two diets consisted of 44% corn silage and 56% concentrate. From the 2nd week to 8th week postpartum, goats were fed ad libitum twice daily either with the control or DCAD total mix ration with free access to water. The spontaneous eating and drinking patterns were determined. Results: The environmental conditions in the present experiment indicated that goats were fed under HTa conditions (average peak THI = 85.2) and were in heat stress. In addition to the typical HTa induced tachypnoea in both groups, the respiratory rate in the DCAD group was significantly higher than the control group (p<0.05). Although the goats from both groups showed comparable level of eating, drinking and urination during experiment, the meal pattern and water intake were different. High DCAD apparently increased eating and meal patterns compared with the control. At week 8 postpartum, goats from high DCAD group had significant (p<0.05) bigger meal size and longer meal duration. Moreover, high DCAD appeared to increase night-time water intake (p<0.05).

Conclusion: Both meal pattern and night-time drinking effects of DCAD suggested that feeding with high DCAD ration may alleviate the effect of heat stress in dairy goat fed under HTa conditions.

Keywords: Dairy Goat; Dietary Cation and Anion Difference (DCAD); Heat Stress; Meal Patterns; Water Balance

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The effect of dietary ions difference on drinking and eating patterns in dairy goats under high ambient temperature

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