Contribution of different segments of the gastrointestinal tract to digestion in growing Saanen goats
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This study examined mean retention time (MRT) of particulate and liquid matter in different segments of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of growing Saanen goats of different sexes and subjected to different levels of feed restriction. In addition, feeding behavior and total tract digestibility were determined for all animals ahead of slaughter. In total, 54 Saanen goats (18 each of females, castrated males, and intact males) with initial BW 15.3 ± 0.4 kg were used in a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement comprising the 3 sexes and 3 levels of feed restriction (unrestricted/ad libitum, moderate, and severe restriction). Six blocks per sex group, each consisting of 3 goats, were randomly formed and the goats within each block were randomly allocated to 1 of 3 different feed restrictions. The daily amounts of feed offered to animals subjected to moderate and severe feed restriction (approximately 75% and 50% of ad libitum rate, respectively) were determined within block based on the DMI by ad libitum fed goats on the previous day. The MRT of particulate matter was determined either using Yb-labeled diet or indigestible NDF (iNDF) determined in situ as markers. Mean retention time of the liquid phase was determined by Cr-EDTA. Orthogonal polynomial contrasts were used to determine linear and quadratic effect of feed restriction, while the effect of sex was compared by Tukey test. The effects of sex and the interaction between sex and feed restriction were not significant on most of variables evaluated. Eating, ruminating, and total chewing time per g DM and NDF intake increased linearly as feed restriction increased (P ≤ 0.03). Diet digestibility increased quadratically for DM and OM, and linearly for NDF as feed intake decreased (P ≤ 0.03). The MRT of iNDF in the reticulorumen, omasum, abomasum, colon, and total GIT increased linearly with increased feed restriction (P ≤ 0.01). Mean retention time in the cecum varied quadratically, being greatest for animals with moderate feed restriction. The MRT of liquid was quadratically (P ≤ 0.04) affected by feed restriction in the reticulorumen, cecum, and total GIT, with the greatest MRT observed for animals subjected to moderate feed restriction. In conclusion, the level of feed restriction increased the MRT of particulate and liquid matter. The MRT was an important mechanism to increase nutrient supply when animals were subjected to feed restriction, as indicated by increased total tract digestibility.