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item Willer, K
item Carroll, Jeffery - Jeff Carroll
item Kerley, M

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science Supplement
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2004
Publication Date: 10/6/2004
Citation: Willer, K.J., Carroll, J.A., Kerley, M.S. 2004. Physiological and colonic microbial responses in the horse to feeding soyhulls [abstract]. Journal of Animal Science Supplement. 82(2):105.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Soyhulls have a nutritional profile that makes them an excellent energy feedstuff for the horse. They have been used in horse rations, and have been shown to promote beneficial bacteria growth in the colon. The hypothesis of this research was that the horse would extensively digest soyhulls, that indigenous bacterial populations in the colon would be increased, and plasma insulin concentration would be reduced. To test this hypothesis, four two year-old horses were fed experimental diets in a 4x4 Latin Square design. In each period diets were fed three weeks for acclimation followed by one week for blood and fecal sampling. Blood samples were collected at 1700 hrs on days 23-27 of each period. Diets consisted of (1) alfalfa hay, (2) 75% alfalfa hay and 25% soybean hulls, (3) 50% alfalfa hay and 50% soybean hulls, and (4) timothy hay. A commercially available supplement designed to make diets nutritionally complete or in excess of NRC recommendations was fed with all treatment diets. These diets resulted in variations of fiber level and form. Horses used in this experiment were stabled so feed intake could be measured and feces could be collected. Horses were managed according to approved animal handling procedures. Measurements made included fiber and nutrient digestibility, bacterial enumeration, plasma insulin, blood glucose and blood urea nitrogen. Grain intake was 5 and 6 lbs for period 1-3 and 4, respectively. Roughage intake was 10 and 12 lbs for period 1-3 and 4, respectively. Intake was increased due to horses being slightly thin. Supplements were individually offered. Horses were weighed on day 25 of each period and body condition scored on day 28 of each period. Lactobacillus populations did not differ among diets. Horses fed diet 2 (75% alfalfa 25% soyhulls) had greater population counts of Bifidobacteria and E. Coli. Horses fed timothy hay had the lowest (p<0.05) plasma insulin and blood urea nitrogen (bun) level. Feeding soyhulls also reduced bun level. Horses were capable of extensively digesting soyhull fiber.