The effects of limited and infrequent drinking, and atropine administration on feed intake and utilization was investigated in South African indigenous goats. Sixteen goats with an average body weight of 29.1 kg were subjected to water restriction and deprivation with concurrent atropine administration. They were fed ad libitum with a mixture of lucerne (Medicago sativa) and eragrostis hay (Eragrostis curvula), blended with molasses. The diet contained 10.47% crude protein, 38% crude fibre and 17.5 MJ/kg gross energy. Fifteen goats were randomly divided into 3 groups and were watered ad Libitum, 50% of ad libitum and 30% of ad libitum water intake respectively (Trial 1). In trial 2, a group of 8 animals were deprived of water for 3 days while the other group had free access to water daily (phase1). During phase 2, another group of 8 were watered on the 5th day while others had water ad libitum. A subgroup of 4 goats each were injected with atropine in both phases. The results showed that these goats have high water efficiency. The limited and infrequent supply of water decreased feed intake but enhanced nutrient utilisation. The provision of water at the 50% ad libitum level or once in 3 days is economical and beneficial to goat production in water-scarce areas. There is a need for complimentary investigations using atropine at high doses to further elucidate the effects of this drug on the gastro-intestinal functions of ruminants.
Dissertation (MSc (Physiology))--University of Pretoria, 2007.