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Gonzalez-Pech P.G.,Autonomous University of Yucatan | Gonzalez-Pech P.G.,Centro Multidisciplinario Of Educacion | Torres-Acosta J.F.D.J.,Autonomous University of Yucatan | Sandoval-Castro C.A.,Autonomous University of Yucatan | Tun-Garrido J.,Autonomous University of Yucatan
Small Ruminant Research | Year: 2015

The sustainable use of the tropical deciduous forest (TDF) during co-grazing of sheep and goats is a complex paradigm. To unveil the latter, an important step is to identify which plants of the TDF are consumed by different ruminant species. Such information must consider the rainy and dry seasons because of the deciduous nature of the TDF, which imply great changes in biomass availability and species dominance. This study aimed at (a) describing the feeding behavior of sheep and goats in the TDF during the dry season, and (b) calculating the quantity of macronutrients harvested in the vegetation by sheep and goats. An observational study was implemented during dry season in the TDF of Yucatan, Mexico. The direct observation method was applied on 3 sheep and 3 goats (adult, non-pregnant females) to record the species of plants consumed, bite categories (BC) and the nutritional quality of different BC. Grazing circuits lasted 4. h daily. Twelve days of observations were performed for each ruminant species according to a Latin-square design implemented to equally distribute variability due to routes of grazing, environmental conditions and shepherds between days. Feeding behavior of sheep and goats was similar in terms of plant species consumed (29 of 33 species). However, sheep obtained most of their DM from Acacia pennatula pods, whereas goats consumed mainly foliage from shrubs. Sheep performed fewer bites per day than goats (median of 2854 vs. 3634; P <. 0.05) and bites were smaller and lighter (P <. 0.05). Consequently, sheep harvested less DM/day than goats (median of 358.5 vs. 514.7. g respectively; P <. 0.05). Furthermore, goats performed several BC that were exclusive of their behavior. Irrespective of differences between ruminant species, both covered approximately 50% of the DM and the metabolizable energy maintenance requirements after 4. h of browsing. Meanwhile, crude protein maintenance requirements were covered by 76% and 141% in sheep and goats, respectively. Thus, the TDF is an important source of protein rich fodder during dry season, while dietary energy is a limiting factor for small ruminant's performance. © 2015. Source


Gonzalez-Pech P.G.,Autonomous University of Yucatan | Gonzalez-Pech P.G.,Centro Multidisciplinario Of Educacion | Torres-Acosta J.F.J.,Autonomous University of Yucatan | Sandoval-Castro C.A.,Autonomous University of Yucatan
Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems | Year: 2014

The aim of this study was to build a bite coding grid that considers the diversity of plant parts consumed by sheep and goats in the heterogeneous vegetation of a deciduous tropical forest. The architecture of plant species and the form and size of the plant parts consumed by sheep and goats grazing in Yucatan, Mexico (20°52'N, 89°37'W) were recorded. This information was used to create a bite coding grid with 33 bite categories (BC). This new grid was validated using the direct observation method with 3 sheep and 3 goats during the dry and rainy seasons. The coding grid enabled the classification of all the plant architectures consumed (grasses, herbs, leafs of woody mono- and dicotyledoneans, bipinnate leafs and creeper plants) as well as other parts of plants consumed by the animals (round/oblong leafs, elongated leafs, steams, vines, flower, fruits, pods). It also considered the mixture of dry leafs and pods consumed directly from the ground. The size (length) of the BC varied from < 1 cm to up to 20 cm. The new grid incorporated BC specific for the deciduous tropical forest of Yucatan, such as plants with bipinnate leafs, creepers' leafs and vines, as well as fallen pods collected from the ground. Of the 33 BC possible in the new coding grid, 28 and 32 BC were used during dry and rainy seasons respectively. Thus, the adapted bite coding grid can be used together with the direct observation method to investigate feeding behavior of sheep and goats browsing in the tropical forests. Source


Torres-Acosta J.F.J.,Autonomous University of Yucatan | Gonzalez-Pech P.G.,Autonomous University of Yucatan | Gonzalez-Pech P.G.,Centro Multidisciplinario Of Educacion | Ortiz-Ocampo G.I.,Autonomous University of Yucatan | And 10 more authors.
Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems | Year: 2016

The tropical deciduous forest (TDF) of Yucatán, Mexico, is a valuable natural resource that provides environmental services and different products for the benefit of humans. The present work provides information concerning the TDF as a natural resource that could be well suited for ruminant production. We firstly describe the characteristics of the TDF in particular its richness of botanic resources. A description of how sheep and goats harvest plants to obtain their feed is provided, as well as a list of the various types of parasites that can infect ruminants grazing in the TDF. Finally, we included a list of different methods that could be used for an integrated control of those parasites aiming at a rational use of the TDF. The rational use of the foraging resources should avoid over-exploitation of the vegetation while favoring at the same time a good level of nutrition for ruminants using the vegetation. To achieve an economically viable livestock production activity it is essential to implement an energy supplementation strategy leading to make use of the high protein content of most plants consumed by ruminants in the TDF. On the other hand, consumption of TDF plants could provide secondary compounds with antiparasitic effects. In conclusion, the TDF could be part of the nutritional management of ruminants and it could also help controlling their internal parasites through the secondary compounds contained in some plants. The latter will allow livestock producers to reduce their dependence of external inputs for ruminant feeding as well as reducing the use of anthelmintic drugs. Source

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