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Prediction of the digestibility of the diet of horses: evaluation of faecal indices

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Data from in vivo digestibility trial with four to six horses fed twenty-seven forage-based diets are used to calculate prediction equations for the digestibility of dry and organic matter, based on the crude ash (CA), crude protein (CP) and crude fibre (CF) contents of diets and faeces. The most precise prediction of dry-matter digestibility (r.s.d. = 0.032, R2= 0.80) was derived from a multiple regression including faecal (CP, CF) and dietary parameters (CF). Among faecal parameters, CP was the best single predictor of both digestibility (r.s.d) = 0.040, r2= 0.63) and dietary CP content (r.s.d = 0.028, r2= 0.59). For biological reasons we propose a non-linear model that allows prediction of dry- and organic-matter digestibility from faecal CP Content with reasonable Precision (r.s.d = 0.038, 0.036, r2= 0.65, 0.74, respectively). This will be adequate for many studies, especially for free-living animals in rangelands.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institut du Cheval-Département DEFI, 16, Rue Claude Bernard, 75231 Paris Cedex o5, France 2: INRA–Theix, 63122 St Genès Champanelle, France 3: IRNA–Station de recherches sur la vache laitière, Domaine de la Prise, 35590 St Gilles, France 4: CNRS-UPR 4701-Centre d'Edtudes Bilogiques de Chizé, 79360 Beauvoir sur Niort, France 5: Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat, Le Sambuc, 13200 Arles, France

Publication date: June 1, 1998

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