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The effect of cold exposure of sheep on digestion, rumen turnover time and efficiency of microbial synthesis

  • P. M. Kennedy (a1), R. J. Christopherson (a1) and L. P. Milligan (a1)

Extract

1. Six closely shorn sheep were given brome grass (Bromus inermis) pellets at 1 h intervals and maintained at ambient temperatures of −1 to 1° and 18–21° for 28 d. Measurements of digestion were made during the last 10 d of temperature exposure.

2. Cold exposure resulted in a reduction in apparent dry matter (DM) digestibility from 0·482 to 0·450, and of apparent digestibility of organic matter (OM) from 0·511 to 0·477. Neither apparent digestibility nor retention of nitrogen was affected.

3. Apparent digestibility of OM in the rumen decreased from 0·300 to 0·242 with cold exposure, and was highly correlated with turnover time in the rumen of 108Ru, which was used as a particulate marker.

4. The efficiency of microbial synthesis (g N incorporated into microbial cells/kg OM apparently digested) was correlated with the dilution rate of the solute marker (51Cr) and with the turnover time of the particulate marker (103Ru) in the rumen.

5. Digestion in the intestine of DM and OM accounted for significantly more of apparent digestion in the whole gastrointestinal tract for sheep kept in the cold than for sheep kept in the warm. The apparent digestibilities of DM and OM entering the intestines were similar in sheep on both treatments, but significantly more non-ammonia-N was digested in the intestines of cold-exposed sheep.

6. The influence of dilution rate of rumen fluid on the efficiency of synthesis of microbial cells in the rumen is discussed.

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References

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The effect of cold exposure of sheep on digestion, rumen turnover time and efficiency of microbial synthesis

  • P. M. Kennedy (a1), R. J. Christopherson (a1) and L. P. Milligan (a1)

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