1. The effects of giving milk once or twice daily (Expt 1) and of weaning (Expt 2) on the flow rate of digesta through the duodenum and on pancreatic secretion were studied in four and two Ayrshire calves respectively. The calves were prepared with duodenal re-entrant and pancreatic sac cannulas.
2. In Expt 1, when whole milk was offered ad lib. once daily, the calves ingested 141 g/kg live weight (46 g dry matter (dm)/kg live weight 0.75) at a single meal. The subsequent pattern of flow and total recovery of polyethylene glycol from the duodenum suggested that none of the ingested milk passed into the rumeno-reticulum. As the total daily quantity of milk ingested when the calves were fed once and twice daily was similar, it was concluded that abomasal distension is unlikely to be the sole factor limiting milk intake in the preruminant calf.
3. With twice-daily feeding, there were no differences in the pattern or total flow of fluid, electrolytes, nitrogen or fat through the duodenum of the calves following the 09.00 and 21.00 hours meals. The pattern of flow of duodenal and pancreatic fluids and the concentration of electrolytes, N and fat were markedly different when the calves were fed once or twice daily. The patterns of flow of fluid and the concentration of electrolytes in the duodenal digesta reflected the frequency of feeding and the size of the meal and the consequent balance between feed and endogenous components of the digesta. The quantity of the apparent endogenous secretion and pancreatic secretion was markedly less when the calves were fed once daily.
4. In Expt 2, the two Ayshire calves were given whole milk twice daily (diet MM), whole milk once daily with concentrates (diet MC), concentrates alone (diet CC) or dried grass alone (diet DG). The calves consumed 46, 49, 45 and 51 g dm/kg live weight 0.75 when given diets MM, MC, CC and DG respectively.
5. The twice-daily fluctuations in the flow and concentration of fluid, electrolytes, N and fat in the duodenal digesta and the pancreatic fluid observed when diet MM was given were replaced by relatively constant flow rates and composition when diet CC or DG was given.
6. Over the 24 h experimental period 97, 70, 50 and 58% of the DM and 112, 98, 99 and 84% of the N in the feed passed through the duodenum of calves when given diets MM, MC, CC and DG respectively.
7. When dry food was given, the rate of pancreatic fluid secretion was markedly lower (11.3 and 13.5 ml/kg live weight for diets CC and DG respectively) than when diet MM (19.7 ml/kg live weight) was given.