Stimulation of Rumen Fermentation in Sucking Lambs

Veterinarni Medicina 38, 1993, 275-285

The effect of administration of a preparation containing nutrients and growth which stimulate rumen bacteria was investigated with respect to the level of rumen fermentation in sucking lambs. The preparation was administered orally at a dose of 1.5 g per lamb/day to lambs at the age of 1 to 6 weeks. In addition to genuine milk, both groups of lambs received a concentrate mixture and had free choice of hay and water. Two lambs from the experimental group and two lambs from the control group were slaughtered at the age of 1, 4, 6, 10 weeks. The average daily weight gains over the period of 1 to 4 weeks were 0. 179 kg in the control and experimental groups, 0.212 kg in the experimental group at the age of six weeks, and 0.189 kg in the control group at the same age while over the whole period of investigation they were 0.209 kg and 0. 1 84 kg in the experimental and control group, respectively. The dynamics of total volatile fatty acid concentrations (Fig. 1) showed an increasing trend in both investigated groups with the growing age while the highest values (I 25.9 +/-8.5 mmol/l in the control group and 130.7 +/- 17.2 mmol % in the experimental group) were recorded at the age of 10 weeks. The between-the-group differences were not significant. As for the percentage of individual volatile fatty acids, the largest differences were observed in propionate and valerate. The percentage of propionate (Fig. 2) was increasing with the growing age of lambs of the experimental group, and this difference enlarged in favour of the experimental group. At the age of 10 weeks, the molar proportion of propionate was on average 21.5 +/- 4.1 mol % in the experimental group, and only 16.3 +/- 2.9 mol % in the control group. The valerate values were highest in both investigated groups at the age of four weeks (2.03 +/- 0.7 mol % in the experimental group and 1.4 +/- 0.2 mol % in the control group

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