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Research article2007Peer reviewed

Effects of intermittent watering on water balance and feed intake in male Ethiopian Somali goats

Mengistu U, Dahlborn K, Olsson K


The objective of this study was to investigate the regulation of water balance and dry matter (DM) intake of male Ethiopian Somali goats. Twenty-eight goats were grouped into four treatments; goats watered every day (W1), every 2nd day (W2), every 3rd day (W3) and every 4th day (W4) for a total period of 72 days. Plasma sodium and potassium were analyzed by flame photometry, plasma osmolality by freezing point depression, plasma protein concentration by TS refractometry, and the plasma vasopressin concentration by radioimmunoassay. Goats were fed grass hay ad libitum and were given 200 g of concentrates daily. The calculated daily water intake (ml/kg BW0.75) of W1, W2, W3 and W4 was 128 +/- 4, 86 +/- 4, 88 +/- 4 and 78 +/- 4, respectively, (P < 0.001, W1 versus the other groups). Calculated total concentrates intake did not change, whereas Group W2 and W4 consumed less hay on days of water deprivation (W1 versus W2, P < 0.01; W1 versus W4, P < 0.001). Plasma sodium concentration of W I was 143 I mmol/l. Intermittent watering increased plasma sodium concentration from 140 or 141 +/- 1 mmol/l to 145 or 146 +/- 1 mmol/l every 2nd day in group W2. In W3, it increased from 139 +/- 1 to 146 +/- 1 mmol/l and in W4 from 137 +/- 1 to 149 +/- 1 mmol/l (P < 0.001 for all) on days after watering compared to last day of water deprivation, respectively. Corresponding changes were observed in plasma osmolality. Total plasma protein concentration increased only in W3 from 65 +/- 1 to 67 +/- 1 mmol/l on day 3 (P < 0.01) and in W4 from 65 +/- 1 to 67 and 68 +/- 1 mmol/l on days 3 and 4, respectively (P < 0.05). The plasma vasopressin concentration of W1 was close to 0.80 +/- 0.28 pmol/l on all days, but it increased on dehydration days in W2 (P < 0.05). In W3, the vasopressin concentration increased from 0.95 or 1.19 pmol/l the day after watering to 3.11 +/- 0.28 pmol/l on day 3 (P < 0.01). In W4, it was 0.82 +/- 0.31 pmol/l the day after watering and reached 6.06 +/- 0.31 pmol/l on day 4 (P < 0.001). We conclude that male Ethiopian Somali goats can be watered once every 3rd days, and that longer interval is not recommended because it demands marked mobilization of water saving mechanisms and causes decreased DM intake. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved


Goat; Intermittent watering; Dehydration; Vasopressin; Dry matter intake

Published in

Small Ruminant Research
2007, Volume: 67, number: 1, pages: 45-54

UKÄ Subject classification

Veterinary Science
Animal and Dairy Science

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