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Vila Real de Santo António, Portugal

Santos A.S.,Animal Production Group | Ferreira L.M.F.,Animal Production Group | Cotovio M.,Animal Production Group | Silva F.,Animal Production Group | And 4 more authors.
EAAP Scientific Series | Year: 2010

The effect of increasing protein nitrogen level from casein on fermentation parameters of caecal contents was evaluated using caecal contents from 3 cannulated horses. Four levels of protein nitrogen (3.7, 6.3, 12.5 or 25 mg of N in the form of casein) were studied using in vitro batch incubations, and the end-products of fermentation were evaluated. Results showed that the microbial caecal population might be capable of utilizing protein nitrogen. Furthermore different protein nitrogen concentrations may lead to different fermentation patterns.

Ferreira L.M.M.,Animal Production Group | Celaya R.,SERIDA Servicio Regional de Investigacion y Desarrollo Agroalimentario | Santos A.S.,Animal Production Group | Garcia U.,SERIDA Servicio Regional de Investigacion y Desarrollo Agroalimentario | And 3 more authors.
EAAP Scientific Series | Year: 2012

Heathlands are widespread in the north of the Iberian Peninsula and are usually used by feral horses. Knowledge on foraging behaviour of equines in these areas is important for their efficient utilization. In this study, grazing time (GT), diet selection (DS), feed intake (FI) and digestibility (DMD), of five mares grazing on heathlands with an area of improved pasture (IP, ryegrass-white clover) was measured in June and September. Animals' GT on each vegetation type was determined by recording their activity every 15 minutes from dawn to dusk during two consecutive days. DS, FI and DMD were estimated using n-alkane markers. IP availability was assessed by recording sward surface height. Effect of grazing season on DS, FI and DMD was examined by ANOVA. Equines showed an average daily GT of 621 min/day, with no differences between seasons, despite the shorter observation period in September. In June, mares spent most of their GT on the IP (0.847) whereas in September they spent more time on heather-gorse communities (0.516). DS results showed an almost total selection of herbs (0.971) in June, decreasing (P<0.001) its proportion to 0.823 in September in response to the decrease in IP availability (9.6 to 4.0 cm). Higher participation of woody species in September diet resulted in lower (P<0.001) DMD (368 vs. 685 g/kg DM) due to its higher fibre content. Daily FI was higher (P<0.001) in June than in September (233 vs. 119 g DM/kg LW 0.75). Data obtained in this study showed that equines primarily select herbaceous plants, but they are also able to modify their foraging behaviour in response to modifications in the availability of these more nutritional feed resources.

Desrousseaux G.,Animal Production Group | Desrousseaux G.,Wageningen University | Santos A.S.,Animal Production Group | Pellikaan W.F.,Wageningen University | And 4 more authors.
EAAP Scientific Series | Year: 2010

The present study intended to evaluate the influence of faecal collection time on the microbial activity of equine faecal inocula used in the gas production technique. Three adult horses, fed hay and concentrates 3 times a day, were used as faecal donors. Fermentation was carried out for 5 feedstuffs with faecal inocula obtained at four times: before the morning feed (t0) and 2 h (t2), 5 h (t5) and 8 h (t8) after the morning feed. Gas production curve fitting parameters and fermentation end-products were analyzed using the mixed procedure according to a 5×4 factorial design with feedstuff and collection time as main factors, whereas bacteriological counts were analyzed as a completely randomized design experiment using one-way ANOVA. Although there were no significant differences in pH and bacteriological counts, the proportions of propionate and butyrate and the extent of fermentation were the highest for t2 (P≤0.05). Moreover, there was an interaction (P=0.0244) for the asymptotic amount of gas evolved between the collection time and the type of feed. These results show that the collection time based on the feeding schedule of the donor horses had an influence on the fermentative activity of the faecal microflora.

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