Influence of Macronutrients and Polyethylene Glycol on Intake of a Quebracho Tannin Diet by Sheep and Goats

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Journal of Animal Science

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We determined if supplemental macronutrients or polyethylene glycol (PEG) influenced intake of a tannin diet. Sheep (lambs 5 mo age, 36 kg) and goats (kids 7 mo age, 32 kg) were fed supplements high in either energy or protein or offered a choice between the two supplements before and after receiving a meal containing 15% quebracho tannin. The effect of PEG, a compound that attenuates the negative effects of tannins, was assessed by offering PEG while animals consumed the tannin diet for 4 h/d. Intake of the tannin diet was influenced by both macronutrients and PEG. Animals that chose their own supplements or that received the high-protein supplement, consumed more of the tannin diet than animals fed the high-energy supplement: 34 and 36 vs 31 g/kg0.75 (lambs) and 41 and 39 vs 34 g/kg0.75 (kids), respectively (P < 0.05). Animals supplemented with PEG ate much more of the tannin diet than unsupplemented animals: 70 vs 39 g/kg0.75 (lambs) and 63 vs 34 g/kg0.75 (kids), respectively (P < 0.001). Sheep and goats consumed more tannin food when given PEG than when supplemented with macronutrients (51 and 38 g/kg0.75, P < 0.001). Sheep and goats offered a choice between supplements consumed more CP than animals fed the high-energy supplement and more ME than animals fed the high-protein supplement (P < 0.05). In so doing, they selected a combination of foods that yielded a more balanced intake of macronutrients, while achieving high levels of intake of the tannin food. Sheep and goats can be used as an environmentally safe and economically sound means to reduce the abundance of tannin-rich vegetation. Macronutrients and PEG enhance use of tannin-containing plants, which may increase production of alternate forages and create a more diverse mix of species in a plant community.

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