Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

p. 2763-2774

Ingestive behavior of heifers in Alexandergrass pasture receiving different amounts of oat grain as supplement

José de Oliveira Sichonany, MariaGomes da Rocha, MartaPötter, LucianaPaula Binato Beltrão de Oliveira, AnaArruda Ribeiro, LailaFoggiato da Silva, MôniquePereira Hundertmarck, AneliseRoberto Salvador, Paulo

This study was conducted to evaluate the ingestive behavior, displacement patterns and meal dynamics of beef heifers in Alexandergrass pasture (Urochloa plantaginea (Link.) Hitch) receiving different amounts of oat grain: 0, 0.80 and 1.12% of body weight (BW). The grazing method was continuous with put-and-take stocking. The experimental design was completely randomized following a repeated measure arrangement. The grazing time decreased and the idling time increased when beef heifers were supplemented, independently of supplement amount, while the rumination time was similar across supplement amounts. The number of feeding stations per minute and the number of steps taken between each feeding station were similar regardless of supplementation. When receiving 1.12% of BW of oat grain, heifers remained longer in each feeding station and took fewer steps per minute. The number of meals decreased and the duration of breaks between meals increased when heifers received oat grain. The duration of each meal was similar for heifers receiving supplement than for those that did not. Understanding how animals adjust their grazing behavior and cope with changing environmental dynamics is essential for the development of management strategies designed to optimize animal production.

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