Effects of methionine hydroxy analog on voluntary intake, digestibility, nitrogen balance, and chewing behavior in sheep fed grass silage
Deswysen, A.G.; Bruyer, D.C.; Naveau, C.; De Mol, J.; Ellis, W.C.
Journal of Animal Science 69(9): 3798-3806
ISSN/ISBN: 0021-8812 PMID: 1938659 DOI: 10.2527/1991.6993798x
Voluntary intake, digestibility, N balance, and chewing behavior of six 6-mo-old (young) and six 30-mo-old (mature) Texel wethers (32.6 and 83.1 kg average BW) given ad libitum access to grass silage and 100 g of top-dressed soybean meal with or without 5 g of methionine hydroxy analog (MHA) in the acid form were examined according to a two-period crossover design. Supplementation level of MHA in the acid form corresponded to .32 and .16 g of MHA/kg BW.75, respectively, in young and mature wethers. There was no effect (P greater than .10) of MHA on mean voluntary DMI. Methionine hydroxy analog supplementation increased (P less than .02) digestibility of DM, OM, and CP by young wethers but not (P greater than .18) by mature wethers. The MHA decreased eating time (P less than .03) in both young and mature wethers and intake level (P = .01) in young wethers during the first 1.5 h of access to grass silage. With MHA, both age groups increased (P less than .05) the daily number of meals and decreased (P less than .02) the mean duration of each meal. There was no effect (P greater than .06) of MHA on daily and unitary eating, ruminating, and masticating times; however, mean duration of consecutive rumination bolus cycles was longer (7.2%; P = .01) in young wethers. Young vs mature sheep ate more (53.4 vs 39.3 g of DM/[d.kg BW.75]; P less than .001) and had shorter unitary mastication times (P = .001). Results suggest that, depending on its relative level of supplementation, MHA in the acid form could act through both palatability and effects on ruminal metabolism.