# THE EFFECT OF MECHANICAL PROCESSING OF HAY ON THE EATING AND RUMINATION BEHAVIOUR IN SHEEP

• Fujihara, T. (Laboratory of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Shimane University) ;
• Harumoto, T. (Faculty of Agriculture, Shimane University)
An experiment was carried out to investigate the effect of change in length of hay offered on eating and rumination behaviour in sheep using three types of hay diets (L: long, M: 8.0-cm cut, S: 1.2-cm cut) and 3 Japanese Corriedale wethers, and the experiment was designed as $3{\times}3$ latine square. The time spent eating per 100 g hay was significantly shorter with long (L) hay (p < 0.05) than with chopped (M and S) hay, and therefore, the eating rate (g D.M./min.) was significantly higher in the former (p < 0.05) than in the latter. Rumination appearance (the lag time after eating) tended to be longer with long hay than with chopped hay, but not significantly (p > 0.05). Daily time spent ruminating, the actual chewing time and daily number of chews tended to be more in feeding long hay than in feeding chopped hay, but not significantly. Daily number of rumination periods was significantly more with long hay (p < 0.01) than with chopped hay. Cyclic rate tended to be longer with long hay than with chopped hay, in particular, the difference in values between long hay and 8.0-cm cut hay was significant statistically (p < 0.01). The rumination index (time spent ruminating/100 g D.M, eaten) tended to be higher with long hay than with chopped hay, and the difference in values between long hay and 1.2-cm cut hay was significant statistically (p < 0.05). Bolus time was significantly longer with long hay (p < 0.01) than that with 8.0-cm cut hay. The circadian pattern of ruminating time was not changed by the changes in length of hay eaten.