Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/15/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The factors determining preference for one forage over another are poorly understood. A statistical procedure called multidimensional scaling (MDS) had been used to study preference, but not in ruminants. The use of MDS systematizes data by generating spatial maps with coordinates relevant to the generally unknown selection criteria of the subjects. In MDS, the subjects rate each pair of stimuli for dissimilarity. With sheep, this wa achieved by placing pairs of nine hays for three day periods before six ewes. Prior to the pairing and data collection, each ewe was given an adaptation period of 2 d with each hay. The hays included alfalfa as a positive control along with four temperate grass hays and four subtropical grass hays. The preference was found to be described by three dimensions. Dimension 1 had the greatest influence in preference followed by Dimension 2 which had a greater influence than Dimension 3. Dimension 1 was related to in vitro digestibility, monosaccharide concentration, short chain polysaccharide concentration, and disaccharide concentration.