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J Anim Sci. 1994 Jun;72(6):1623-9.

Feed intake and apparent digestibility of hay-supplemented brassica diets for lambs.

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  • 1Department of Animal, Veterinary, and Aquatic Sciences, University of Maine, Orono 04469.


Animal performance on brassica diets often does not reflect laboratory estimates of the nutritive value of the herbage. Hay supplementation of brassica pastures should increase diet DM and fiber intake and dilute anti-quality factors. The optimal hay:brassica ratio needed to achieve desirable animal performance, however, has not been established. Effects of changing the hay:brassica ratio on feed and water intake, apparent digestibility of diets, thyroid status, and anemia were examined in five Dorset-cross wether spring lambs (initial BW 32.8 +/- 3.2 kg). The experimental design was a 5 x 5 Latin square with 21-d periods (7 d of adaptation, 6 d of intake measurement, and an 8-d digestion trial with jugular blood drawn on last day). Diets contained chopped grass hay and tyfon (turnip x Chinese cabbage hybrid) at five hay:tyfon ratios (DM basis): 100:0; 75:25; 50:50; 25:75; and 0:100. As the proportion of tyfon in the diet increased, there were linear increases (P < .05) in ad libitum DMI (922 to 1,359 g/d), total water intake (1.75 to 13.06 L/d), digestible DMI (401 to 952 g/d), and apparent digestibility of DM (55.9 to 86.3%), CP (52.9 to 84.5%), and neutral detergent solubles (57.2 to 88.5%). Hay plus tyfon diets exhibited negative associative effects for apparent digestibility of NDF, ADF, and cellulose. Plasma thyroxine and triiodothyronine, packed cell volume, red blood count, and hemoglobin concentration were not affected by diet. Tyfon influenced DMI and apparent digestibility of diets in a manner similar to that of a concentrate.

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