Effect of natural zeolite on live weight changes, ruminal fermentation and nitrogen metabolism of ewe lambs
AbstractThe objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of natural zeolite on the performance and nitrogen metabolism of Rambouillet ewe lambs. Forty Rambouillet ewe lambs with an initial weight of 41.06 ± 3.9 kg were randomly assigned to one of four experimental diets, namely 0, 20, 40 and 60 g of natural zeolite (Comercializadora Omega® México) per kg dietary dry matter in a completely randomized design and sixteen ewe lambs were used in a 4 x 4 Latin square metabolism study. Performance was not modified by natural zeolite levels in the diet, and daily gain showed a quadratic response. Ammonia concentration at 8 and 12 hours increased linearly with zeolite. Zeolite increased ruminal pH linearly at 8 and 12 hours. Acetate and butyrate presented a quadratic response, and total ruminal volatile fatty acid concentration was linearly increased by zeolite. Nitrogen retention showed a linear and quadratic response to zeolite. The estimated fractions of protein digested in the small intestine, when rumen-fermentable energy was limiting (PDIE) and when rumen-fermentable nitrogen was limiting, showed a linear and quadratic response to zeolite. PDIE was positively correlated (r = 0.96) with average daily gain.
Keywords: Sheep, ammonium, ruminal fermentation, productive, soluble nitrogen