Researches on animal nutrition area has shown the great forage potential of alfalfa. Characteristics such as its easy adaptation to different climates, high protein, fiber percentages and the high availability of minerals draw the attention to the legume, mainly on equine farming, once they have high nutritional demands for these components during the different life stages. This project aims to analyze the fecal characteristics of horses fed with alimentation based on different alfalfa conservation methods. The experiment will be conducted on the Research Laboratory for Digestive Health and Equine Performance (LabEqui) premises, which is part of the Department of Animal Nutrition and Production (VNP) of the University of São Paulo - FMVZ USP. There will be 8 animals under this study, all of them purebred Arabian gelding near 12 years old with an average body weight of 459,56 ± 55 Kg, following contemporary 4 x 4 double square latin protocol design. They will be distributed between the cube, pellet, hay and haylage treated alfalfa with two horses for each treatment. The aim is to analyze the feces pH parameters as well as the fecal score based on its consistency and color right after the first daily defecation. It is well known that the interpretation of those fecal characteristics may be an important indicator on the digestive health of horses and it may vary according to different aspects (e.g. fiber length or food digestibility). The information collected with this project may help the understanding on the effects of forage different conservation methods on the gastrointestinal tract of animals.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: