The Thai Journal of Veterinary Medicine


Eating behavior is influenced by various external stimuli, including food and ambient temperature (Ta). In dairy animals, high ambient temperature (HTa) decreases eating and subsequently reduces milk production. Eight crossbred non-lactating Saanen goats in late pregnancy fed under HTa condition were used to investigate the normal eating behavior by comparing the short-term eating pattern of control with 2% coconut oil supplemented formulations. The goats were fed ad libitum twice daily a total mix ration with free access to water. The experiment lasted 17 days, 9 days for adaptation and 8 days for data collection. Meal patterns were determined on the last day of experiment. The short-term 2% coconut oil supplementation (0.91±0.08 kg/day) did not affect daily dry matter intake (DMI) as compared with the control (0.83±0.05 kg/day). However, daytime DMI of the coconut oil supplemented group (0.82±0.05 kg) was higher than that of the control group (0.57±0.06 kg/day). This effect was derived primarily from the longer eating duration and meal duration during daytime and the bigger meal size during spontaneous meals. The present results suggested that, under HTa condition, the spontaneous meal, rather than the scheduled meal, was first deviated by the new diet. Another aspect of the normal eating pattern in crossbred dairy goats was the crepuscular eating pattern which could not be replaced by the scheduled afternoon feeding. This finding suggested that under HTa, the crepuscular eating is the norm, and modification in the afternoon feeding schedule should be considered to avoid the effect of HTa.

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