Pelleted-hay alfalfa feed increases sheep wether weight gain and rumen bacterial richness over loose-hay alfalfa feed
Wenner, Benjamin A.
Ishaq, Suzanne L.
Lachman, Medora M.
Geddes, Julie Buono
Yeoman, Carl J.
MetadataShow full item record
Diet composed of smaller particles can improve feed intake, digestibility, and animal growth or health, but in ruminant species can reduce rumination and buffering â€“ the loss of which may inhibit fermentation and digestibility. However, the explicit effect of particle size on the rumen microbiota remains untested, despite their crucial role in digestion. We evaluated the effects of reduced particle size on rumen microbiota by feeding long-stem (loose) alfalfa hay compared to a ground and pelleted version of the same alfalfa in yearling sheep wethers. In situ digestibility of the pelleted diet was greater at 48 h compared with loose hay; however, distribution of residual fecal particle sizes in sheep did not differ between the dietary treatments at any time point. Both average daily gain and feed efficiency were greater for the wethers consuming the pelleted diet. Observed bacterial richness was very low at the end of the adaptation period and increased over the course of the study, suggesting the rumen bacterial community was still in flux after two weeks of adaptation. The pelleted-hay diet group had a greater increase in bacterial richness, including common fibrolytic rumen inhabitants. The pelleted diet was positively associated with several Succiniclasticum, a Prevotella, and uncultured taxa in the Ruminococcaceae and Rickenellaceae families and Bacteroidales order. Pelleting an alfalfa hay diet for sheep does shift the rumen microbiome, though the interplay of diet particle size, retention and GI transit time, microbial fermentative and hydrolytic activity, and host growth or health is still largely unexplored.
Wenner, Benjamin A, Suzanne L Ishaq, Medora M Lachman, Amy Baeza, Molly Butler, Emily Gates, Julie Buono Geddes, Patrick Hatfield, and Carl J Yeoman. "Pelleted-hay alfalfa feed increases sheep wether weight gain and rumen bacterial richness over loose-hay alfalfa feed." PLoS One 14, no. 6 (June 2019):e0215797. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0215797.
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as CC BY: This license lets you distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon this work, even commercially, as long as you credit the original creator for this work. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.