Tropical Grasslands (2007) Volume 41, 301307
Partial substitution of Atriplex lentiformis for wheat straw in the diet of Damascus does
M.R. AL-MASRI, M. ZARKAWI AND K. KHALIFA
Department of Agriculture, Atomic Energy Commission, Damascus, Syria
Damascus does were fed either a conventional wheat straw-concentrate ration (control) or a ration where 35% of the straw was replaced with Atriplex lentiformis hay, with barley grain added and concentrate level reduced to make both diets isocaloric and isonitrogenous. The rations were fed from 5 months before mating to kidding. Similar amounts of metabolisable energy (ME) and crude protein (CP) were fed and consumed by the does in the 2 groups. Leaves plus flower clusters of A. lentiformis contained more CP and ME and less crude fibre and cell wall constituents than stalks. The values for IVDOM in A. lentiformis hay were: 516, 629 and 285 g/kg dry matter (DM) for the whole external cover, leaves plus flower-clusters and stalks, respectively; and comparable values for ME were: 6.01, 6.55 and 3.76 MJ/kg DM. The values for buffer-soluble nitrogen were 29 and 39% and for buffer-soluble non-protein nitrogen were 25 and 28% of the total N in leaves plus flowerclusters and stalks, respectively. Live weights, blood serum concentrations, conception rates and duration of pregnancy were similar for does on both rations as were birth weights of kids. It appears that Atriplex lentiformis hay can be substituted for some of the wheat straw in conventional straw-concentrate diets for breeding does without detriment to performance, with a resultant saving in amount of concentrate required.