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Water Metabolism and Nutrition in Animals Exposed to Water Scarcity and Hot Environment

A Ajibola, EA Boomker, JG van der Walt

Abstract


The water metabolism and feed utilization of domestic animals exposed to harsh environmental conditions were investigated. Three groups consisting of eight indigenous goats each were used for the study. One group was deprived of water for 3 days; another group had water deprivation for 5 days; while the control group had free access to water on a daily basis. They were fed ad libitum with a mixture of lucerne (Medicago sativa) and Eragrostis hay (Eragrostis curvula) blended with molasses. There was a significant difference between the different treatments with regard to water consumption on a daily basis. The feed intake of the goats dropped as the water consumption decreased. Reduced urine and faecal water loss accompanied prolonged intervals between water intakes. Unmeasured water (metabolism, respiration and evaporation) was significantly less in water deprived animals. Providing water once in three or five days for animals under adverse environmental conditions can streamline their metabolic activities vis-à-vis their nutritional status without constituting any threat to their physiological demands.

Keywords: nutrition, metabolism, water scarcity, animals, hot environment.




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