Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 24, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of VFA administration and energy intake on sheep gastrointestinal development. Twenty seven lambs consumed milk replacer ad libitum until slaughter at 9 ages from 1 to 84 d (M). Nine additional lambs consumed milk until 49 d and subsequently assigned to one of three treatments: ad libitum intake of lamb starter (F), restricted intake of lamb starter (P: paired to the energy intake of M lambs), or continued ad libitum intake of milk replacer plus an oral VFA gavage (55.2:36.9:7.2 mmole/ 100 mmoles acetate: propionate: butyrate) to provide 12.5% NEg (V). At slaughter visceral organs were removed and weighed. Ruminal and intestinal tissues were weighed and intestinal tissue length was determined. Subsamples were used to determine total, epithelial and musculature DM, protein, DNA, and RNA of the rumen, duodenum, jejunum, ileum, and the colon. Data is presented as a percent of empty body weight unless otherwise noted. Rumens from M increased from .31 to .88 from 1 to 84 d. Both F and P stimulated increases in rumen mass (2.232 and 2.126, respectively) while V treatment did not (.761). Small intestinal weights were unaffected by P and F, relative to milk fed animals yet increased in V (3.32(M), 2.66(P), 3.122(F) and 4.061(V)). The ratio of small intestinal length to empty body weight declined from birth to 84 d and was further reduced by intake of solid feed and VFA treatment. However, weight per unit length of the small intestine was increased by feeding and VFA.