Four ruminally cannulated, Debouillet wethers were used in a 4×4 latin square experiment to evaluate the influence of a forb mix, a shrub mix and alfalfa (ALF) hay on ruminal fermentation characteristics and digesta kinetics of a basal grass hay/straw (GH/S; 1.04% N) diet. The grass hay was mostly blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) mixed with barley (Hordeum vulgare) straw. Wethers were fed either the GH/S mix (70:30), GH/S:ALF (29:58:13), GH/S:forbs (26:54:20), or GH/S:shrubs (26:54:20). The forb component consisted of equal parts of scarlet globemallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea) and leatherleaf croton (Croton corymbulosus) while shrubs were composed of equal parts of fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens) and mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus). Ruminal pH, ammonia-N, as well as total VFA concentrations and molar proportions of individual VFA did not differ among diets. Particulate passage rates tended (P>0.10) to be greater for diets containing ALF, forbs or shrubs (2.8, 2.9 and 2.8% h-1) than the GH/S diet (2.5% h-1). In situ DM and NDF disappearance of a GH/straw (50:50) mix did not differ among treatments at most incubation times, except at 96 h when extent of both DM and NDF disappearance were greater (P<0.05) in sheep fed either forbs or shrubs than in those fed other diets.
- barley straw
- blue grama
- in situ digestibility
- ruminal fermentation digesta kinetics