R. Bras. Zootec.. 30/Oct/2018;47:e20170262.
Multivariate analysis of productive and nutritional traits and feeding behavior of sheep fed roughage-free diets
The objective of this study was to evaluate productive traits in sheep fed roughage-free diets by multivariate analysis. Forty lambs were used in this study: 20 Santa Inês animals, consisting of 10 uncastrated males and 10 females; and 20 crossbreds (½ Santa Inês × Dorper), consisting of 10 uncastrated males and 10 females, at an average age of five months. Lambs were randomly allocated into the following treatments: Santa Inês males fed once daily (SM1); Santa Inês males fed twice daily (SM2); Santa Inês females fed once daily (SF1); Santa Inês females fed twice daily (SF2); crossbred males fed once daily (CM1); crossbred males fed twice daily (CM2); crossbred females fed once daily (CF1); and crossbred females fed twice daily (CF2). In the multivariate analysis, a difference was detected between the mean values for production classes and feeding-behavior variables (Wilks, Pillai, Hotelling-Lawley, and Roy tests). Tocher’s optimization method had two groups formed: Group I, comprising treatments SM1, SM2, SF1, SF2, CF1, and CF2; and Group II, containing treatments CM1 and CM2 (crossbred males). When production and cud chews per day were evaluated, neutral detergent fiber digestibility and final weight were the performance-digestibility variables that most contributed to explaining the variation between treatments. When the feeding behavior was assessed, the time spent on other activities was the variable that most contributed. The crossbred genotype (½ Santa Inês × Dorper) and the male sex have superior performance for weight-related traits. However, when these animals are confined with females, it is recommended to supply the feed only once daily, irrespective of the genetic group.