INFLUENCE OF FLAVOR DIVERSITY ON SHEEP FEEDING BEHAVIOR AND DIGESTIBILITY

CATEGORY: Feed Additives

DATE:June 2013

AUTHORS: Villalba J.J., Mereu,, A. and Ipharraguerre I.R.

BOOK/JOURNAL:Journal of Dairy Science 96 (E-Suppl. 1): 278

ABSTRACT:

We have shown that offering a variety of flavored feeds to sheep has the potential to change their feeding behavior and thereby enhance intake relative to a monotonous diet. The aim of this study was to assess whether the expected differences in feeding behavior displayed by sheep exposed to a diet offered plain or in a diversity of flavors influences feed digestibility. Twelve commercial crossbred animals (34 ± 1.2 kg of initial BW) were stratified by BW and assigned to 2 groups (6 lambs/group). Six lambs (3 lambs/group) were housed in metabolic crates during 2 successive experimental periods. One group of lambs [Diversity (D)] was fed simultaneously an unflavored ration of alfalfa, barley, beet pulp, and urea (55:35:9:1) and the same ration mixed (0.2%) with one of two flavors: 1) sweet, and 2) umami. The other group [Monotony (M)] received just the unflavored ration. All animals were fed their respective rations ad libitum from 0800 to 1600. Experimental periods were 26 d in length. Within each period, the first 20 d were used for adaptation to diets, and the last 6 d were used for sample collection to estimate feed intake and total tract digestibility. On d 20, intake was estimated every 30 min for 8 h (feeding pattern). Data were analyzed as a split-plot design with lambs (random) nested within group and period, and day and time interval (feeding pattern) treated as repeated measures. On average, lambs in D tended to consume more feed than lambs in M (7.8 vs. 6.2 g/Kg0.75; P = 0.08). Lambs in D showed higher intakes than M during 30 (P = 0.006), 60 (P = 0.02), 90 (P = 0.02), 120 (P = 0.04), and 180 min (P = 0.07) after offering the rations. Although not significant, lambs in D tended to have lower DM digestibilities than lambs in M (58.8 vs. 61.9%; P = 0.18). In conclusion, exposure to diverse flavors in the same ration has the potential to increase feed intake relative to monotonous rations due to changes in feeding patterns occurring within the first 180 min of feeding. Such changes in feeding behavior, however, do not appear to counteract the negative impact of increased intake on feed digestibility.

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