Fifty-four male lambs were used to study the effects of two types of small electronic boluses on the dimensions and epithelial characteristics of their reticulorumen. Newborn lambs were assigned according to bolus type and age of application to the following treatments: 1) control (C, n = 21), without bolus; 2) mini (M, n = 21), identified with a 9.3 x 37.4-mm, 5.2-g bolus during the first week after birth; and 3) small (S, n = 12), identified with a 15.0 x 39.1-mm, 20-g bolus after weaning at wk 5, when lambs weighed more than 12 kg. After weaning, lambs were given ad libitum access to concentrate and barley straw. Six lambs were euthanized at the start of the experiment to measure initial reticulorumen characteristics. Ten lambs (five from M and five from C treatments) were slaughtered at weaning and 24 (eight per treatment) were slaughtered when they reached 24 kg. After bolus recovery, the reticulorumen was emptied and filled with Polyurethane foam to obtain reticulorumen casts. Weight of the emptied reticulorumen and volume of the casts were measured. Four representative lambs from each treatment were also slaughtered at 24 kg, and their reticulorumen used to evaluate papillae size, number of dead cells, and degree of keratinization of both the reticulum wall and the rumen wall epithelia. Weight at weaning (13.8 kg), age at the end of fattening (65 d), and mortality rate (4%) did not differ among treatments. Retention rate for M and S boluses was 82.4 and 100%, respectively. Fresh weight and volume of the reticulorumen did not differ among treatments at weaning (130 g and 1,679 mL) or at the end of the fattening period (640 g and 5,931 mL). Lambs in the M treatment had greater (P < 0.05) rumen papillae size and lower (P < 0.10) keratinization than C lambs; values in the S lambs were intermediate between M and C lambs. Neither the M nor S type of bolus affected dimensions of the reticulorumen, but the earlier presence of M boluses induced a greater papillae size, with no negative effects on health and fattening performances of young lambs. © 2003 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.
|Journal||Journal of Animal Science|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Apr 2003|
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