Received: September 19, 2016; Revised: December 1, 2016. Accepted: February 4, 2017. Published online February 23, 2017.
Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the effect of adding water to total mixed ration (TMR) on fresh water intake, nutrient digestibility, wool cortisol, and blood indices in Corriedale ewes under hot and humid conditions.
Method: Nine non-pregnant Corriedale ewes (ave. BW = 41 ± 3.5 kg) were individually fed diets based on maintenance requirements in metabolic crates. Ewes were assigned to three treatment groups according to a triplicate 3×3 Latin Square design for 3 periods of 21 days duration each (9 ewes per treatment, 27 replications). Treatments were TMR (CP = 16.1, TDN = 69.1%) moisture levels for 40%, 50%, and 60%.
Results: No differences were found in body weight gain among all treatment groups (p>0.05). Nitrogen balance including digestible N, retained N, and urinary and fecal N showed no change among the treatment groups (p>0.05). Fresh water intake was the lowest in 50% TMR moisture group than the other groups (p<0.05). Other than ether extract which was higher in 60% TMR moisture group (p<0.05) the differences among nutrient digestibilities including CP, OM, DM, NDF, ADF, and NFC were not significant (p>0.05). No significant difference was observed for serum protein, BUN, glucose, and TG among the treatment groups (p>0.05). Wool and blood cortisol were not different among the treatment groups (p>0.05). Blood hematology including RBC, WBC, hemoglobin, hematocrit, basophils, and eosinophils were not different among the treatment groups (p>0.05).
Conclusion: It is concluded that TMR moisture at 40%, 50% and 60% had no effects on N balance parameters, and nutrient digestibilities except for the ether extract under hot and humid conditions. Additionally there were no effects on stress conditions include wool cortisol, as well as blood cortisol levels of ewes.
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