The effect of the physical form of the diet on the consumption of solid food by calves, and the distribution of food residues in their alimentary tracts

Hodgson, J.

Animal Production 17(2): 129-138


ISSN/ISBN: 0003-3561
DOI: 10.1017/s000335610001686x
Accession: 000228772

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Male British Friesian calves were offered, in 2 experiments, chopped or ground and pelleted dried grass to appetite. In one experiment the pelleted diet was also given in restricted quantities. The calves were slaughtered, without being starved, 6 to 9 weeks after weaning, and detailed measurements were made of the weights and volumes of the sections of the digestive tract and its contents, and of other abdominal organs. Grinding and pelleting the diet reduced mean retention time by about 50% and digestibility by 6 to 8 percentage units, and increased intake of DM in the 2 experiments by 55 and 32% and growth rate by 53 and 69%. The ground and pelleted diets gave a smaller quantity of fluid digesta in the rumen and a greater quantity in the abomasum and small intestine. There were smaller differences between diets in the quantity of digesta in the combined caecum and colon or in the total volume of the organs of the abdomen than in the amount of digesta in the rumen. It is suggested that further critical studies are required upon the importance of the contents of the alimentary tract, or of the abdomen as a whole, in the control of voluntary feed intake in ruminants.