Ingestive behavior and performance of female lambs grazing on Marandu palisadegrass under different stocking rates
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The ingestive behavior and performance of female lambs grazing on Marandu pasture submitted to different stocking rates during the rainy and transition season were evaluated. The experimental area with 4,500 m² was divided into 45 paddocks of 100 m². Twenty-seven Santa Ines female lambs (purebred) with 4 months age and 22 kg of initial body weight were distributed in a completely randomized design, with nine replicates. Lambs were divided into 9 groups with the same initial weight and submitted to three stocking rates: 2, 3 and 4 lambs/paddock, which corresponded to 40, 60 and 80 lambs/ha, respectively. Each group of animals had a module of five paddocks, managed on intermittent grazing system, with 7 days of occupation and 28 d of rest. Increase on time grazing and reduction on time ruminating and resting were observed as stocking rates increased. There was 14% raise in time grazing and 41% decline on time resting by lambs subjected to the highest stocking rate compared with those in the lower stocking rate. The number of animals/ha promoted linear effect on average daily gain, which was higher for animals in the lowest stocking rate of 90 g/d. For gain per area, the best result was obtained with 60 animals/ha featuring an average value of 426 kg/ha.