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The relative resistance to escape of leaf and stem particles from the rumen of cattle and sheep

  • D. P. Poppi (a1), R. E. Hendricksen (a1) and D. J. Minson (a1)

Summary

In a study of the effect of animal species on the threshold particle size leaving the rumen, two grasses cut at two stages of growth and one mature legume were separated into leaf and stem fractions and fed to cattle and sheep. Samples of rumen digesta and faeces were used to determine the validity of using a 1·18 mm porosity screen to separate the rumen particles into large and small pools when studying escape of particles from the rumen. Samples of rumen digesta and faeces were collected for the determination of particle size by wet sieving and the calculation of resistance of particles to passage from the rumen relative to small particles retained on a 0·15 mm sieve.

Particles < 1·18 mm but > 0·5 mm had a mean relative resistance to passage of 2·0 and 2·6 for cattle and sheep respectively, compared with resistance values of between 10·9 and 31·2 for particles between 1·18 and 2·36 mm. It is suggested that there is no justification for using different threshold particle sizes for sheep and cattle and that a 1·18 mm sieve may be used to divide the rumen contents of both cattle and sheep into two pools of particles with high and low relative resistance to passage from the rumen.

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