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Nutritional value of whole coconut, coconut powder, and coconut fiber treated with sodium hydroxide for sheep

Nutritional value of whole coconut, coconut powder, and coconut fiber treated with sodium hydroxide for sheep

Ciencia E Agrotecnologia 40(4): 475-483

ISSN/ISBN: 1413-7054

DOI: 10.1590/1413-70542016404039915

The growing consumption of green coconut - fresh and industrialized - in Brazil generates a large volume of wastes and coproducts that justifies the search for alternatives for their use in animal feeding. The most limiting factor to the inclusion of these coproducts in ruminant diets is their high fiber content, which may restrict intake and performance. The present study determined the composition and in vitro dry matter degradability of whole coconut, coconut powder, and coconut fiber treated with sodium hydroxide (0%, 3%, and 6%) and the effect of including whole coconut hydrolyzed with 6% sodium hydroxide at different concentrations (25%, 30%, 35%, and 40%) in the diet on apparent digestibility of nutrients, performance, and feeding behavior of sheep. Alkalinization decreased the hemicellulose, NDF, and ADF contents of the evaluated coproducts. Whole coconut and coconut powder provided greater in vitro degradation of DM compared with coconut fiber, with highest values obtained with the inclusion of 6% sodium hydroxide. Inclusion of whole coconut in the diets did not affect the intakes of DM, CP, NDF, and ADF, but influenced weight gain, feed conversion, and apparent digestibility of DM and NDF. Regarding the feeding behavior of the animals, the inclusion of whole coconut in the diet only affected their rumination time. Whole coconut hydrolyzed with 6% NAOH can be included in diets for feedlot sheep at up to 35% without reducing intake or weight gain.

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