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Ruminant Nutrition and Forage Utilization
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2009;22(1): 72-81.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2009.80067    Published online January 6, 2009.
Effect of Frequency of Meals on Intake and Digestion of Tropical Grass Consumed by Rams
C. Assoumaya, D. Sauvant, F. Pommier, M. Boval, B. Calif, H. Archimède*
Correspondence:  H. Archimède,
Eight Black Belly rams (45.2 kg) fitted with permanent ruminal cannulae were used in a 22 factorial design to determine the effects of feeding frequency and regrowth age on intake and digestion. Rams were fed with 21- or 35-day old fresh pangola grass offered ad libitum two or four times a day. Irrespective of the regrowth age, there was a tendency for intake to be positively correlated with increase in meal frequency. Differences were not significant (p>0.25). Significant effects of meal frequency were observed in NDF and ADF total tract digestibility of the 35-day grass which decreased as the number of meals increased. Meal frequency had no visible effect on feeding behaviour. Total rumen content increased when animals were fed twice a day as opposed to four times a day. Similarly, an accumulation of small and very small particles was observed in the rumen of rams fed twice a day in comparison with those fed four times a day. These results suggest that studies of digestive dynamics performed at a steady state are not representative of the rumen loading observed in farm rams which have two important peaks of meal.
Keywords: Tropical Forage; Intake; Digestive Dynamics; Sheep

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