Salt cedar (Tamarix spp.) readily invades and dominates riparian areas and lake basins throughout the western United States. Traditional control efforts (chemical and mechanical control) are expensive and provide limited long-term control. The salt cedar leaf beetle (Diorhabda elongata) provides a method of biological control through reduction in cover. However, population establishment of leaf beetles in some locations is often difficult because of environmental conditions. In previous research, goats readily consumed salt cedar, offering an alternative method of reducing salt cedar cover. For this study, we determined if sheep would consume salt cedar and consume a similar amount as goats. Twelve Rambouillet and 12 Suffolks lambs were fed salt cedar once daily (Trial 1) and three times daily (Trial 2). Intake of salt cedar by sheep was compared between breeds and with intake of salt cedar by goats (n = 10). Salt cedar was fed once a day in Trial 1 for 30 min over 15 d. Intake was recorded daily for individual animals. In Trial 2, salt cedar was offered three times daily for 13 d with intake recorded. There were no differences (P > 0.05) between breeds of sheep. In addition, sheep consumed more salt cedar than goats except on the last day of the study. When salt cedar was offered three times daily, both breeds of sheep increased intake and gained weight over the 13 d of feeding in Trial 2. By the end of the study, intake appeared to still be increasing. Collectively, these results illustrate that both Rambouillet and Suffolk sheep will consume a similar amount of salt cedar as goats and will provide another species of livestock that can be potentially used to reduce salt cedar cover.
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