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Interaction of forage provision (alfalfa hay) and sodium butyrate supplementation on performance, structural growth, blood metabolites and rumen fermentation characteristics of lambs during pre-weaning period

Soltani, M., Kazemi-Bonchenari, M., Khaltabadi-Farahani, A.H., Afsarian, O.
Animal feed science and technology 2017 v.230 pp. 77-86
acetates, alfalfa hay, blood, blood composition, diet, females, forage, lambs, males, metabolites, milk, pH, propionic acid, rumen fermentation, rumen fluids, short chain fatty acids, sodium butyrate, statistical analysis, weaning weight
The present study evaluated the interaction of forage provision (F) and sodium butyrate (SB) supplementation in pre-weaning lambs on performance, structural growth, blood metabolites and rumen fermentation characteristics. Twenty eight 3-days old individually housed Chaal breed lambs averaging BW of 6.02 ± 0.57 kg were randomly assigned to 4 treatments (n = 7 lambs/treatment: 4 males and 3 females). Experimental treatments were; 1) starter diet provided neither with F nor with SB (NF-NSB), 2) starter diet supplemented only with SB (NF-SB), 3) starter diet provided only with forage (F-NSB), and 4) starter diet simultaneously provided by forage and SB (F-SB). The F provision was 10% chopped alfalfa hay included in whole concentrate starter based diet (DM basis) and the SB supplementation was 3 g of SB/kg of starter DM. The manual milk feeding was performed for all lambs. The lambs were weaned on d 59 of age but the study lasted until d 73 of age. Performance statistical analysis was carried out for pre-weaning (8 weeks), post-weaning (2 weeks) and entire experimental periods (10 weeks). The results show that starter intake influenced with SB (P = 0.03) and weaning weight was greater in lambs supplemented with SB (P < 0.01). Neither intake nor gain was influenced with forage provision (P > 0.05). The interaction was observed between SB and F for gain in overall period of experiment (P = 0.03). The interaction of SB and F caused the greatest wither height in F-SB treatment (P = 0.03). Body barrel was greater in forage fed lambs (P = 0.01). No blood parameter was influenced with separate or simultaneous provision of F and SB in the current study. The short chain fatty acid (SCFA) concentration (P = 0.02) as well as butyrate concentration (P < 0.01) was increased by SB supplementation. Forage inclusion improved ruminal fluid pH (P = 0.02) and increased acetate (P < 0.01); however both butyrate (P = 0.02) and propionate (P = 0.01) concentrations were reduced. In conclusion we found that F provision was not efficient as maximum as whole concentrate starter diet but simultaneous providing of SB could alleviate the negative effects of provided forage in pre-weaning lambs. Future studies warranted to evaluate microscopic development of rumen papillae in simultaneous provision of forage and butyrate in pre-weaning lambs.