Digestibility and performance of lambs fed diets containing old man saltbush hay
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The aim of this study was to evaluate feed intake, digestibility, nitrogen balance, water balance, and performance of lambs fed diets containing old man saltbush hay associated with a concentrate. Thirty-two castrated feedlot Santa Inês lambs at approximately eight months of age, with 22 ± 1.97 kg body weight, were distributed into a completely randomized experimental design. Acid detergent fiber intake increased (P < 0.05), whereas non-fibrous carbohydrates intake decreased (P < 0.01). Inclusion of old man saltbush in the diet reduced (P < 0.01) the digestibility of dry and organic matter, neutral and acid detergent fiber, and non-fibrous carbohydrates. The intakes of digestible dry and organic matter, ether extract, total carbohydrates, and digestible non-fibrous carbohydrates also decreased (P < 0.01). Inclusion of old man saltbush did not influence water consumption from the trough by the sheep, averaging 4327.20 mL/day-1. Body weight at slaughter and daily weight gain decreased linearly (P < 0.05) and feed conversion worsened as old man saltbush hay was added to the diet. Inclusion of old man saltbush at up to 40% replacing the concentrate in feedlot lamb diets does not compromise the performance of these animals.