The effect of level of feed intake on nutrient and energy digestibilities and rate of feed passage in horses

Todd, L.K.; Sauer, W.C.; Christopherson, R.J.; Coleman, R.J.; Caine, W.R.

Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 73(3): 140-148


ISSN/ISBN: 0931-2439
DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0396.1995.tb00413.x
Accession: 002712656

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The effect of feeding maintenance (M) and 1.4 times M levels of intake of alfalfa cubes on digestibilities and rate of passage was determined in six mature gelding horses. In addition, the efficacy of using chromic oxide as a digestibility marker and dysprosium (Dy) as a passage rate marker, when fed as pan of supplemental vitamin-mineral pellets, was evaluated. Digestibility coefficients for dry matter, crude protein and gross energy were not different (p gt 0.05) at either level of intake. Moreover, all digestibility coefficients determined from chromic-oxide recovery were similar (p gt 0.05) to values obtained by the total-collection method. Dry matter digestibilities for faecal grab samples taken at 0800 h were 7.4 and 6.1 percentage units higher (p lt 0.05) compared with samples taken at 2000 h when determined by the recoveries of Dy and chromic oxide, respectively. There was no difference (p gt 0.05) between maintenance and 1.4 times M horses for transit time and mean retention time (MRT) of digesta when determined by simple regression analysis based on the decline in concentration of Dy versus time after the marker was withdrawn from the diet. Alternatively, when MRT were determined mathematically by two methods using marker concentrations at different time intervals, maintenance MRT was greater (p lt 0.05) at 24.6 and 25.8 h compared with 15.3 and 15.9 h at 1.4 times M level of intake. In conclusion, chromic oxide is suitable as a digestibility marker, whereas, Dy is useful as a marker to study relative rates of passage in horses.

The effect of level of feed intake on nutrient and energy digestibilities and rate of feed passage in horses