Inoculation with Rumen Fluid on Early Weaned Lambs

R.Z. Zhong et al. - Livestock Science

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

There is limited literature focused on the direct rumen contents inoculation in early weaned lambs, especially on effects of different type of rumen contents inoculation on growth performance. This intervention may have a practical value in ruminant production systems.

Effects of inoculation with rumen fluid on nutrient digestibility, growth performance and rumen fermentation of early weaned lambs

What is the problem?

A quick transition of young lambs from the stage of pre-ruminant to ruminant to digest solid rations should be an essential strategy to minimize stress at early weaning.

Development of fauna and flora in the rumen of young ruminants has been investigated by several researchers.  50–150 days are necessary to establish a mixed type of rumen fauna at the adult ruminant level in rumen of lambs. Hence, early establishment of microbes in the rumen becomes essential for rumen development and successful weaning if earlier than 50 days old.

The aim of this study was to determine effects of diets inoculated with fresh or lyophilized rumen fluid on growth rate, digestibility, and rumen fermentation of early weaned lambs.

What did the research involve?

  • thirty weaned male lambs (28 days old) with live weight of 10.3 kg were randomly assigned to one of 3 treatments for a 56 days feeding period to study effects of inoculation with rumen fluid from mature sheep on growth performance and rumen fermentation
  • treatments consisted of: (1) starter grain ration (SGR, control), (2) fed SGR and inoculated with 100 ml fresh rumen fluid (FRF) daily for 7 days and (3) fed SGR and inoculated with 100 ml lyophilized rumen fluid (LRF) for 7 days

What were the key findings?

  • results showed that there were no differences in DM intake, apparent digestibilities of crude protein and acid detergent fiber (ADF), ruminal pH, and ruminal concentrations of ammonia N and total volatile fatty acid (VFA)
  • however, both inoculations decreased feed conversion rate
  • inoculation of FRF increased average daily gain (ADG), apparent digestibilities of DM and neutral detergent fiber (NDF), while inoculation of LRF increased apparent digestibility of fat
  • there were significant interactions between treatment and sampling time for all individual ruminal VFA, except butyric acid and the ratio of acetic to propionic acid

Final Comment

In conclusion, FRF inoculation was beneficial to improving growth performance of lambs during the transition. Further research is needed to explain the mechanism of action of the FRF as probiotic.

Oral administration of fresh rumen fluid in lambs as probiotic was beneficial for improving growth rate and feed conversion rate.

2014 - R.Z. Zhong et al. - Livestock Science
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