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Factors limiting the intake of feed by sheep xv. voluntary feed consumption and digestion in lambs fed chopped roughage diets varying in quality



Factors limiting the intake of feed by sheep xv. voluntary feed consumption and digestion in lambs fed chopped roughage diets varying in quality



Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 40(3): 643-662



Feed intake and digestion transactions for diets based on wheaten straw and mature ryegrass diets, both supplemented to provide additional essential nutrients, were compared with those for lucerne hay and high quality forage oats diets in lambs weighing c. 24 kg. The data obtained and comparable published data were used to examine relationships between a range of variables. Decrease in roughage quality, as evidenced by decrease in digestible organic matter (OM) intake, was accompanied by increase in (i) times spent eating, ruminating and chewing rumination boluses, (ii) the quantities of digesta or digesta OM in the reticulo-rumen and omasum. It was not associated with increase in the large particle content of rumen or omasum digesta. Over the range of diets, close direct relations were demonstrated between (i) ruminating time and the amount of digesta in the reticulo-rumen, (ii) the amounts of digesta in the reticulo-rumen and omasum, (iii) the oM concentrations in rumen and reticulum digesta, (iv) the OM concentrations in reticulum and omasum digesta, (v) the OM concentration of reticulum digesta and of digesta flowing to the omasum, and (vi) the increase in OM concentration from reticulum to omasum digesta and OM concentration of reticulum digesta. Reticulum digesta were of finer texture than rumen digesta, and the bulk density of digesta particle fractions varied between diets, and sometimes between rumen and large intestine digesta. With a straw-based diet, relative to lucerne hay, small particles (< 600 .mu.m sieve) were cleared more slowly from the reticulo-rumen, associated with a larger reticulo-rumen particle pool. The data are discussed in relation to (i) the flow of digesta through the alimentary tract and (ii) the regulation of roughage intake. They were considered to be consistent with a concept that energy metabolism and digesta load in the reticulo-rumen interact in the regulation of roughage intake.

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