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Fiber Composition and Forage Digestibility by Small Ruminants

Henry L. Short, Robert M. Blair and Charles A. Segelquist
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 38, No. 2 (Apr., 1974), pp. 197-209
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3800724
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3800724
Page Count: 13
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Fiber Composition and Forage Digestibility by Small Ruminants
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Abstract

Cell wall constituents (CWC) were usually more plentiful in grasses than in other forages at comparable phenological stages. Acid detergent lignin (ADL) was frequently a greater proportion of the acid detergent fiber (ADF) of browse leaves than of other forages. Forbs and woody twigs usually had intermediate CWC and ADL/ADF values. CWC increased and digestibility decreased as many forages matured. The digestibility of grasses, forbs, many browse leaves, and succulent browse twigs was significantly related to true digestibility as estimated by the summative equation. Dry matter digestibility of mature browse twigs was significantly related to cell content values, and estimated values for true digestibility tended to exceed observed values. Foodstuffs vary in degree and rate of digestibility largely because of their relative fiber contents. Plants with high CWC levels, especially when combined with high lignin contents, are low-quality forage for small ruminants.

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