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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: RANGELAND AND LIVESTOCK RESOURCE MANAGEMENT Title: Sheep Ingestion of Water Containing Quebracho or Black Wattle Tannin

Author
item Kronberg, Scott

Submitted to: Rangeland Ecology and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 17, 2009
Publication Date: March 1, 2010
Citation: Kronberg, S.L. 2010. Sheep Intake of Water Containing Quebracho or Black Wattle Tannin. Rangeland Ecol. Manage. 63:258-262.

Interpretive Summary: Ingestion of small amounts of condensed tannin by ruminants can produce valuable outcomes such as improved nitrogen use, reduced bloating and methane output, and internal parasite reduction. Many grasses and forbs have little if any condensed tannin in them. Not all livestock will consistently consume solid supplements while grazing especially when grazing high quality forage, but they all usually drink water each day. Also, not all condensed tannins have similar effects on ruminants. Therefore, eight lambs with the same initial weight were individually penned, fed alfalfa pellets twice daily, and had free-choice access to two liquids. Liquid intake was measured daily. After an adjustment period to pens, feeding, and watering conditions and water with condensed tannin in it, three sequential week-long trials were conducted. In Trial 1, lambs chose between normal water and a quebracho tannin-water mixture of moderate concentration (ca. 1% dry matter intake). In Trial 2, lambs chose between normal water and a quebracho tannin-water mixture of lower concentration, and in Trial 3 lambs chose between a quebracho tannin-water mixture and a wattle tannin-water mixture with both of the same concentration. In Trials 1 and 2, they had inconsistent intakes of tannin water and normal water from day to day and neither preferred nor avoided tannin solutions when they had normal water to drink. They also had inconsistent intakes of the two tannin solutions (quebracho and black wattle) offered simultaneously, and generally showed no preference for either tannin solution when offered only the two tannin solutions to drink. Results support other observations that sheep and cattle will voluntarily consume water with small amounts of condensed tannin in it, and provide no evidence that sheep prefer consuming small amounts of quebracho versus black wattle tannin in water.

Technical Abstract: Ingestion of small amounts of condensed tannin by ruminants can produce valuable outcomes such as improved nitrogen use, reduced bloating and methane output, and internal parasite reduction. Many grasses and forbs have little if any condensed tannin in them. Not all livestock will consistently consume solid supplements while grazing especially when grazing high quality forage, but they all usually drink water each day. Also, not all condensed tannins have similar effects on ruminants. Therefore, eight lambs with the same initial weight of 43.1 kg were individually penned, fed alfalfa pellets twice daily, and had ad libitum access to two liquids. Liquid intake was measured daily. After an adjustment period to pens, feeding, and watering conditions and water with condensed tannin in it, three sequential week-long trials were conducted. In Trial 1, lambs chose between normal water and a quebracho tannin-water mixture of moderate concentration (ca. 1% DM intake). In Trial 2, lambs chose between normal water and a quebracho tannin-water mixture of lower concentration, and in Trial 3 lambs chose between a quebracho tannin-water mixture and a wattle tannin-water mixture with both of the same concentration. In Trials 1 and 2, they had inconsistent intakes of tannin water and normal water from day to day (P = 0.02) and neither preferred nor avoided tannin solutions when they had normal water to drink. They also had inconsistent intakes of the two tannin solutions (quebracho and black wattle) offered simultaneously (P = 0.01), and generally showed no preference for either tannin solution when offered only the two tannin solutions to drink (P > 0.15). Results support other observations that sheep and cattle will voluntarily consume water with small amounts of condensed tannin in it, and provide no evidence that sheep prefer consuming small amounts of quebracho versus black wattle tannin in water.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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