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Dietary fiber and milk yield, mastication, digestion, and rate of passage in goats fed alfalfa hay

F. J. Santini, C. D. Lu, M. J. Potchoiba, and J. M. Fernandez

Journal of Dairy Science 75:209-219. 1992.

Two experiments were conducted to study the effect of intake of fiber on productive performance of high producing dairy goats during early to midlactation. Four dietary treatments were isonitrogenous and consisted of combinations of chopped alfalfa hay and concentrate, yielding 14, 18, 22, and 26% ADF. In Experiment 1, 40 multiparous Alpine does were used in a completely randomized block design. Milk fat content and total chewing time increased, and milk yield tended to decrease, as dietary ADF intake increased. Chewing efficiency [min/(g kg BW0.75)] for DM decreased, whereas that for ADF increased as ADF intake increased. Prediction equations were the following: milk fat yield, g/d = 115.78 - 0.128 ADF intake, g/d + 0.00021 (ADF intake)2 (R = 0.55); total chewing time, min/d = 345.33 + 0.32 ADF intake, g/d (R = 0.60). In Experiment 2, 20 does were used in a completely randomized design. Apparent digestibilities of DM and energy decreased as dietary ADF intake increased. Rumen turnover rate and transit time of liquid were affected by ADF intake. Transit time of hay decreased as ADF intake increased. Intake of ADF affected pH and ammonia, acetate, and butyrate concentrations in the rumen. Acetate to propionate ratio increased with ADF intake. No apparent trends were observed in whole blood ß-hydroxybutyrate or in plasma NEFA concentrations related to ADF intake. It appeared that DMI and milk fat yield leveled at 22% ADF or 43% NDF. For lactating dairy goats producing more than 3.5 kg/d of milk, calculated fat output reached a plateau when they consumed 587 g/d of ADF and spent 512 min/d chewing.


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