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The effect of feed regimen on chewing time, digesta passage rate and particle size distribution in Holstein non-lactating cows fed pasture ad libitum

Oshita, T., Sudo, K., Nonaka, K., Kume, S., Ochiai, K.
Livestock science 2008 v.113 no.2-3 pp. 243-250
dairy cows, ingestion, eating habits, pastures, dry matter intake, rotational grazing, feces, gastrointestinal transit, digesta, particle size distribution, Holstein, rumen fluids, ad libitum feeding, mastication, feed rations
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of feeding regimen on chewing activity and ruminal passage of digesta in non-lactating cows fed pasture ad libitum. Six ruminally fistulated Holstein dry cows (mean±SD; parity=3.7±0.5, length of pregnancy=28±2 W, BW=692±75 kg) were assigned randomly to two dietary treatments using a crossover design; three cows were rotationally grazed pasture (treatment G) and the other was fed harvested pasture ad libitum in confinement (treatment C). Passage of digesta was measured by fecal marker excretion using Co-EDTA and Dysprosium (Dy) labeled grass as fluid phase maker or solid phase marker, respectively. Particle size distribution of ruminal digesta and feces was measured by wet sieving method. No significant difference in dry matter intake (DMI) between treatments was observed. Eating time in treatment G (517 min/day or 38.6 min/kg DMI) was longer treatment C (384 min/day or 31.0 min/kg DM). Chewing time per DMI was similar in both treatments (70.0 vs. 66.1 min/kg DMI). Ruminal liquid outflow rate and rumen volume of cows in treatment G were significant higher and lower than treatment C (9.9 vs. 12.2%/h and 111.0 vs. 79.9 L, respectively). The mean retention time in small particle pool to be able to pass through the reticulo-omasum orifice (CMRT₂) in cows of treatment C was longer (P <0.05) than that for treatment G.. Logarithmic particle distribution and mean particle size of ruminal digesta at 24 h after feeding and feces particles had no significance between treatments. These results indicated that ingestive behavior of dry cow affected on eating time and ruminal volume, and it might have caused the higher ruminal liquid and particulate passage rate in treatment G compare to treatment C, with minimal effect on the particle size of digesta to pass from the rumen.