The effect of dietary rations on the gut morphology of Zebu Cattle
Studies in the Bos taurus cattle have shown the gut morphology to be affected by diet, but there is a paucity of such information in the Bos indicus cattle. A study was conducted to evaluate the morphology of digestive tract of the Tanzanian Short Horn Zebu (TSHZ) cattle under different dietary treatments. A total of 54 TSHZ cattle aged 2-3 years were randomly allocated to six dietary treatments. Animals under treatment 1 (T1) were grazed on natural pasture, while those of T2-T6 were fed ad libitum basal diet of hay supplemented with rations consisting of varying amounts of agro-processing by-products for 90 days. The animals were slaughtered, rumen samples taken and length and breadth of the rumen papillae measured. Rumen papillae and intestinal villi length of the cattle in T3 (hominy feed with molasses) measured 16.1± 0.7 mm and 780±19 μm respectively, and were significantly longer (P<0.05) than those of the other treatments. The average crypts depth of animals fed on T3 was 297±14 μm and was significantly (P<0.05) deeper than those of the other treatments, except in those on T2. The results indicate that the increases of both the length of the rumen papillae and the height of villi were attributed to the molasses, hominy feed and cotton seed cake in the treatment rations. It is concluded that the use of agro-processing by-products in feedlot production, enhances development of papillae and villi growth of TSHZ, expected to lead into increased absorptive surface areas of the rumen and small intestine.
Keywords: diet, papillae, villi development, TSHZ cattle