Factors affecting the voluntary intake of food by cows. 2. The relationship between the voluntary intake of roughages, the amount of digesta in the reticulo-rumen and the rate of disappearance of digesta from the alimentary tract

Campling, R.C.; Freer, M.; Balch, C.C.

British Journal of Nutrition 15: 531-540


ISSN/ISBN: 0007-1145
PMID: 13876093
Accession: 014045410

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Hay or oat straw was offered ad lib. and at 2 controlled levels of intake to 4 dry Shorthorn cows with rumen fistulas. The cows received one meal daily. The mean voluntary intake of hay was more than twice that of straw. The lower voluntary intake of straw was associated with a lower overall digestibility, and, in the reticulo-rumen, a lower digestibility of crude fiber, a slower rate of digestion of cotton thread and a longer time of retention of food residues. Immediately after they had eaten food offered ad lib. the dry weight of digesta in the reticulo-rumen of cows offered hay was 35% greater than in cows offered straw. However, as a result of the slower rate of disappearance of straw the difference was less than 6% immediately before the next meal. It is suggested that the voluntary intake of these 2 roughages was regulated in relation to their respective rates of disappearance from the alimentary tract in such a way as to maintain a constant amount of food residues in the reticulo-rumen immediately before feeding. The voluntary intake of hay by individual cows was inversely related to the time of retention of food residues in the alimentary tract when the cows received 10 or 15 lb of hay.