Nutritional value of fresh Gambel oak browse for Spanish goats.

Author: 
Dick, B.L.
Urness, P.J.
Publisher: 
Rangeland Ecology & Management / Journal of Range Management Archives
Publication Year: 
1991
Description: 
Little information is available on the nutritional value of fresh browse for ruminants. This study examined the nutritive value of Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii Nutt.) for Spanish goats. Fresh Gambel oak browse was harvested at 2 phenological stages and mixed with chopped alfalfa hay to formulate 6 diets, varying in oak content. Diets included 95% juvenile oak/5% alfalfa (95J), 80% juvenile oak/20% alfalfa (80J), 65% juvenile oak/35% alfalfa (65J), 80% mature oak/20% alfalfa (80M), 40% mature oak/60% alfalfa (40M), and an alfalfa control (ALF). Diets were evaluated for goats using a series of digestion-balance trials, in a completely randomized design. Dry matter intake was highest (P < 0.01) for animals on diets with mature oak (80M-37.8, 40M-34.5 grams kg(-1) day(-1), and lowest on diets containing juvenile oak (95J-23.6, 80J-31.6, 65J-29.9 grams kg(-1) day(-1)). Digestibility of dry matter and cell wall components was lower (P < 0.01) for mature oak diets, and higher for juvenile oak diets. Digestibility coefficients for dry matter were as follows: (80M-57.8%, 40M-58.8%, 95J-68.6%, 80J-65.3%, 65J-66.3%. Digestibility coefficients for cell wall were: 80M-33.1%, 40M-37.4%, 95J-53.7%, 80J-45.8%, 65J-47.3%. All diets provided nitrogen and energy in excess of maintenance requirements, as reflected by weight gains for all animals in every trial. Fecal and urinary nitrogen losses did not appear to be related to tannin content of the diets, since juvenile oak diets resulted in reduced nitrogen outputs, presumably due to reduced nitrogen intakes for these diets. We conclude that Gambel oak, even juvenile material in high dietary percentages (95%), provides adequate nutrients and should be considered a valuable forage for goats in oakbrush habitats.
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
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