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Effect of feeding dehydrated and ensiled tanniferous sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) on nitrogen and mineral digestion and metabolism of lambs

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The effects of tanniferous sainfoin on digestion and metabolism have been investigated in 12 lambs in an incomplete cross-over design (n = 6). Effects of condensed tannins (CT) were evaluated by comparing dehydrated and ensiled sainfoin treated with and without polyethylene glycol (PEG). Dehydrated and ensiled grass-clover mixtures served as controls. The lambs were fed the treatment diets, including a mineral supplement, for 21 d. During the last 7 d excreta, rumen fluid and blood were sampled. The CT of sainfoin decreased rumen fluid ammonia concentration (p < 0.001) and increased the plasma concentration mainly of essential amino acids (p < 0.001). Body retention of phosphorus, calcium and magnesium was lower with sainfoin compared to PEG-treated sainfoin (p < 0.05). Sainfoin without PEG resulted in lower digestibilities of organic matter and neutral detergent fibre than sainfoin with PEG and the grass-clover mixture (p < 0.001). Ensiling of sainfoin led to the lowest N-retention. In conclusion, the reduction in ruminal ammonia and urine-N losses by sainfoin CT did not improve N-retention.

Keywords: Amino acids; condensed tannins; forage conservation; minerals; protein; sheep

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux, Research Station ALP, Posieux 2: ETH Zurich, Institute of Animal Science, Zurich, Switzerland

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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