Utilization of nutrients by sheep as affected by diet composition and solar radiation

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Abdelatif, A.M.
Ahmed, Muna M.M.
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Adult desert rams were used to evaluate the effects of diet composition and exposure to solar radiation when fed a high energy diet and lucerne hay. Irrespective of thermal environment, dry matter intake (DMI) was higher (P < 0.05) with the concentrate diet, while the ratio of water consumption to DMI was higher (P < 0.01) with lucerne hay. There was higher digestibility for crude protein (P < 0.01) and crude fiber (P < 0.05) with lucerne hay, while ether extract and total digestible nutrients were higher (P < 0.01) with the concentrate diet. Ruminal ammonia concentration and rumen fluid osmolality were higher (P < 0.01) and rumen pH was lower (P < 0.05) with the concentrate diet. Nitrogen excreted in the urine was lower (P < 0.05) with lucerne hay. Exposure to solar radiation did not significantly affect utilization of either diet. However, crude fibre digestibility was improved with exposure to solar heat load in the animals consuming lucerne hay.
Sheep, diet composition, solar radiation