An alternative feeding system for dairy goats: Effects of free-choice feeding on milk yield and milk composition of lactating suckling Damascus goats
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Çukurova University Agricultural Faculty, Department of Animal Science, 01330 Adana, Turkey
Publication date: 2003-01-02
J. Anim. Feed Sci. 2003;12(1):33-44
The present study was carried out to compare feeding methods in respect to milk yield and milk composition and to assess dietary preferences of lactating suckling Damascus goats receiving feed ingredients as multiple choices under confinement conditions in Northern Cyprus. A total of 36 Damascus goats was allocated to 4 experimental groups with three replicates comprising three goats each for a total period of 7 weeks. The treatment groups were 1. 0.5 kg concentrate and ad libitum lucerne hay, 2. 1.0 kg concentrate and ad libitum lucerne hay, 3. ad libitum total mixed ration (TMR) containing 40% lucerne hay and 60% concentrate, 4. free choice feeding among the main feed ingredients of the concentrate (barley, soyabean meal, wheat bran) and lucerne hay. The results showed that milk yield, concentrate intake, hay intake, total feed intake, crude protein (CP) and metabolizable energy (ME) intakes and liveweight change were affected (P<0.05) by feeding methods. Choice-feeding increased dry matter, energy and protein intake and milk yield but decreased liveweight loss. Feeding methods had no significant (P>0.05) effects on fat, protein or dry matter contents of milk. However, lactose and non-fat-solids content were affected significantly (P<0.05) by feeding methods, as lactose and non-fat-solids content of the groups increased according to their concentrate intakes. It can be concluded that TMR has satisfactory results in respect to lactational performance of suckling goats and that goats can select a diet corresponding to their nutrient requirements when they are given a choice among different feed ingredients. It is also concluded that free-choice feeding may have the potential to improve production performance of Damascus goats in early lactation.
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