Eating Behaviour, VFA Production, Passage Rate and Nutrient Digestibilities in Cattle Fed on Wheat Straw Supplemented with Different Levels of Berseem

  • Das, A. (Scientist, ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Sikkim Centre) ;
  • Singh, G.P. (National Research Centre on Camel)
  • Received : 1998.06.02
  • Accepted : 1999.01.27
  • Published : 1999.11.01


Four ruminally fistulated crossbred $(Sahiwal{\times}Holstein\;Friesan)$ adult (~6 yr.) cattle of about $318{\pm}16kg$ body weight were randomly assigned in an experiment based on $4{\times}4$ latin square design to study the effect of different level of barseem (Trifolium alexendrinum) supplementation to wheat straw based diet on intake, digestion, VFA production, eating behaviour and passage rate. Four dietary treatments were wheat straw ad lib. (I), supplementation to wheat either 15(II), 30(III) or 45(IV)% of berseem. Mean total volatile fatty acids (TVFA) concentration in rumen liquor was 58.45, 66.14, 77.92 and 78.64 mmol/l. TVFA concentration in rumen liquor increased significantly (p<0.01) with increased level of berseem supplementation upon 30% level of breseem. Two peaks of TVFA concentration was observed at 4 and 8 h post feeding. Brseem supplementation showed no significant effect on daily time spent for eating, ruminating or idling, chews per minute or number of rumination boli ingested per minute. Time spent for eating and ruminating one kg neutral detergent fibre (NDF) was significantly (p<0.05) less in breseem supplemented groups. Animals in groups I, II, III and IV consumed 26, 34, 47 and 57% of DM within 1st 4 h and 64, 70, 70 and 77% of total DM within 1st 8 h of offering. All the animals consumed more than 90% of their DMI within 12 h. Active period of rumination was observed 8h post feeding reached the peak at 16 h post feeding, then declined and animals spend considerable time idling in last 4 h of 24 h feeding cycle. Berseem supplementation showed no significant effect on eating and rumination time. It is concluded that berseem supplementation upon 30% increases the efficiency of chewing during eating and rumination, which results in increase intake and TVFA production and nutrient digestibility.