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Dietary concentrate level affects the feed sorting behaviour of lambs

Sari, M., Monjezi, Y., Anoosheh, S. F.
Journal of animal physiology and animal nutrition 2018 v.102 no.4 pp. 892-900
alfalfa hay, cross-over studies, diet, dry matter intake, feed concentrates, feeding behavior, forage, ingestion, lamb feeding, lambs, mastication, nutrient intake
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of forage concentration on sorting, nutrient intake and feeding behaviour of growing lambs. Twelve weaned lambs were exposed, in a crossover design with 7‐day periods, to each of two treatment diets: (i) lower‐concentrate diet (LC; 40.0% concentrate) and (ii) a higher‐concentrate diet (HC; 60.0% concentrate). Alfalfa hay was used as forage source. Sorting was determined by subjecting fresh feed and ort samples to particle separation and expressing the actual intake of each particle fraction as a percentage of the predicted intake of that fraction. Lambs sorted against long particles (>19 mm) on both treatments. On the LC diet, lambs sorted for medium particles, whereas animals fed the HC diet did not sort for or against medium particles. Lambs sorted for fine particles (<1.18 mm) on both treatments (p < .05). The extent of sorting for the fine particles was greater on the LC diet compared with the HC diet (p < .05). Dry matter intake was increased by increasing the concentrate content of the diet. Intake per visit and eating rate increased, and total chewing time was decreased in lambs fed HC diet. In conclusion, lambs sorted most against the longest particles and for the fine particles. Furthermore, feed sorting behaviour is affected by the forage level, and lambs sorted more for the fine particles in the LC diet.