Intake and Nutritional Quality of Salt Cedar
Keywords:Boer-cross, intake, quality, weight, salt cedar.
Both sheep and goats readily consume salt cedar (Tamarisk spp.) after exposure to the plant. Unfortunately, little is known regarding the nutritional content of salt cedar or animal performance as the amount of salt cedar in the diet increases. This study monitored intake and change in body weight as the amount of salt cedar in the diet increased from 0 to 100% of the diet. In addition, we monitored the nutritional quality of salt cedar monthly throughout the growing season. Boer-cross goats were fed salt cedar daily for 42 days with intake monitored daily. Samples were collected from randomly selected salt cedar trees each month and frozen at -80oC until nutritional analysis. Goats increased intake of salt cedar over days of exposure and increased intake of salt cedar as the amount of the basal diet was reduced. Goats initially lost weight but after receiving treatment for internal parasites, maintained weight until the end of the study. Once salt cedar was the only dietary item, goats again lost weight. Salt cedar remained nutritious throughout the growing season.
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