Time of feeding and predictability of dry matter and water intake of grasscutters fed on grass and supplements containing varying levels of dietary fiber
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The study evaluated the feeding behavior of growing male grasscutters (Thryonomys swinderianus) fed freshly cut Panicum maximum, supplemented with pelletized concentrates containing varying levels of dietary fiber. In a two-stage 4 × 4 Latin square arrangement, the relationships between water and dry matter intakes as influenced by dietary characteristics were investigated by offering supplements either at 09:00 h (morning) during the first stage or at 17:00 h (evening) during the second. Each test period lasted for 14 days with a 1-week rest period between changeovers. Time of feeding significantly (P < 0.05) affected total dry matter intake (DMI) and intake of the supplements, with the total DMI increasing by 21% when the diets were offered in the evening relative to when offered in the morning. Regression analyses showed significant (P < 0.05) correlations between dry matter (DM) and water intakes against some dietary characteristics. The current study has shown that crude fiber (CF) inclusion of up to 14% in pelletized supplements for growing grasscutters consuming a basal diet with CF up to 31% may not affect feed and water intake, as well as acceptability of the feed. However, feeding such supplements in the evening could stimulate higher feed intake. Also, dietary DM better predicted DMI compared to the other dietary characteristics.
KeywordsCrude fiber Diet acceptability Dry matter intake Feeding behavior Thryonomys swinderianus Water intake
The management of Animal Research Institute is thanked for the permission to use the facilities of the Grasscutter Unit for this work.
Financial support for this work is from Research-Farmer Linkage Committee, Greater Accra Region of Ghana.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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