Evaluation of methodological aspects of digestibility meaurements in ponies fed different grass hays

F.J.W.C. Schaafstra, D.A. van Doorn, J.T. Schonewille, F.C. Wartena, M. van Zoon, M.C. Blok, W.H. Hendriks

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Methodological aspects of digestibility measurements of feedstuffs for equines were studied in four Welsh pony geldings consuming four grass-hay diets in a 4 × 4 Latin square design. Diets contained either a low (L), medium (M), high (H), or very high (VH) ADF content (264, 314, 375, or 396 g·kg-1 DM, respectively). Diets were supplemented with minerals, vitamins, and TiO2 (3.9 g Ti·d-1). Daily feces excreted were collected quantitatively over 10 consecutive days and analyzed for moisture, ash, ADL, AIA, and titanium (Ti). Minimum duration of total fecal collection (TFC) required for an accurate estimation of apparent organic matter digestibility (OMD) of grass hay was assessed. Based on literature and the calculated cumulative OMD assessed over 10 consecutive days of TFC, a minimum duration of at least 5 consecutive days of fecal collection is recommended for accurate estimation of dry matter digestibility (DMD) and OMD in ponies. The 5-d collection should be preceded by a 14-d adaptation period to allow the animals to adapt to the diets and become accustomed to the collection procedures. Mean fecal recovery over 10 d across diets for ADL, AIA, and Ti was 93.1% (SE 1.9), 98.9% (SE 5.5), and 97.1% (SE 1.8), respectively. Evaluation of CV of mean fecal recoveries obtained by ADL, AIA, and Ti showed that variation in fecal Ti (6.8) and ADL excretion (7.0) was relatively low compared to AIA (12.3). In conclusion, the use of internal ADL and externally supplemented Ti are preferred as markers to be used in digestibility trials in equine fed grass-hay diets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4742-4749
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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