Behavioral Education for Human, Animal, Vegetation, and Ecosystem Management (BEHAVE)


Influence of Macronutrients and Activated Charcoal on Intake of Sagebrush by Sheep and Goats

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Journal of Animal Science






American Society of Animal Science

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We determined if supplemental macronutrients or activated charcoal influenced intake of sagebrush, a shrub that contains terpenes. Sheep (lambs 3 mo age, 33 kg) and goats (kids 5 mo age, 28 kg) were fed supplements high in energy, high in protein, or offered a choice between the two supplements before and after receiving sagebrush for 4 h/d. The effect of activated charcoal, a compound that reduces bioavailability of toxins, was assessed by offering charcoal mixed with a carrier or the carrier alone while animals consumed sagebrush for 4 h/d. The effects of supplemental macronutirents were tested before and after charcoal supplementation. Activated charcoal did not increase intake of sagebrush by sheep or goats (P > 0.05), but supplemental macronutrients influenced intake of sagebrush by both species (P < 0.05). Intake of sagebrush was markedly higher for animals fed the high-protein supplement than for animals fed the high-energy supplement (P < 0.05). Lambs (before and after charcoal supplementation) and kids (after charcoal supplementation) offered a choice between the two supplements used sagebrush at levels comparable to animals supplemented with protein. They consumed more CP than animals fed the high-energy supplement and more ME than lambs fed the high-protein supplement (P < 0.05). Thus, providing a choice between supplements enhanced intake of sagebrush and enabled animals to achieve a more balanced intake of macronutrients. Preference for supplement and sagebrush also depended on an animal’s immediate past history with a supplement. Sheep and goats previously fed the high-energy or the high-protein supplement preferred, respectively, the high-protein or the high-energy supplement when given a choice (P < 0.05). The changes in preference for supplement caused a decreased intake of sagebrush by groups that preferred the energy concentrate, and an increased intake of sagebrush by groups that preferred the protein concentrate. Thus, supplements of different energy and protein densities consistently altered intake of sagebrush by sheep and goats.


Originally published by the American Society of Animal Science.

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