Feeding Prickly Pear Cactus to Small Ruminants in Northern Mexico. I. Goats


  • Jesus Fuentes-Rodriguez




Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia spp.) is the most important natural resource in the arid and semiarid
areas of Mexico. Prickly pear cactus is a plant that has developed characteristics of adaptation
to low water availability and extreme temperature changes, as is present in these areas.
Traditionally, prickly pear cactus has been used as fruit, vegetable and forage. Prickly-pear
cactus production for forage is variable, because the production techniques used are very poor
and in most cases it is grown wild. Prickly pear cactus utilization as a forage for livestock has
been mainly due to its availability during critical dry months of the year and to its chemical
composition (Table 1). The utilization of prickly pear cactus as feed for grazing livestock has
been done by cutting the edges of the prickly pear cactus pads standing in the field and by
burning the whole plant or individual pads of the prickly pear cactus, which in turn is chopped
into small pieces with hand tools.






Research Notes