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