Effect of Cattle Genotype and Variable Feed Supply on Forage Intake and Digestibility

  • Habib, M. (Bangladesh Agricultural University) ;
  • Pollott, G.E. (The Royal Veterinary College) ;
  • Leaver, J.D. (The Royal Agricultural College)
  • Received : 2008.01.06
  • Accepted : 2008.04.30
  • Published : 2008.10.01


An experiment was carried out to investigate whether a local breed of cattle is better adapted than European breed crosses to low quality feeds and to variations in their supply. Four Red Chittagong (RC) and four Holstein cross Sahiwal (Hx) cattle were used to compare the intake and digestibility of German grass (Echinocloa crusgalli) and rice straw with four regimes of feed supply. These were; a choice of German grass and rice straw each offered ad libitum on the same day (A); German grass and rice straw offered ad libitum on alternate days (B); rice straw offered ad libitum for 5 days followed by German grass ad libitum for 5 days (C); and German grass offered ad libitum for 5 days followed by rice straw ad libitum for 5 days (D). Each breed was offered the treatments in a $4{\times}4$ Latin Square design. The German grass intake and total dry matter intake per kg metabolic live weight were significantly higher for the Hx than for RC, but there were no significant effects of genotype on digestibility of nutrients or live weight. Treatment A had the highest proportion of German grass relative to rice straw in the total DM intake, and had the highest total DM intake and apparent digestibility of nutrients compared with treatments B, C and D. It was concluded that there was no significant evidence that the RG cattle were better adapted to a variable supply of low quality feed than Hx cattle, and that the variable feed supply reduced the ability of cattle to select a preferred diet and consequently nutrient intake was depressed.


Supported by : British Council for providing funds for the research


  1. Hungate, R. E., G. D. Phillips, D. P. Hungate and A. MacGregor. 1960. A comparison of the rumen fermentation in European and Zebu cattle. J. Agric. Sci. Cambridge, 54:196-201.
  2. Hunter, R. A. and B. D. Siebert. 1985. Utilization of low quality roughage by Bos taurus and Bos indicus cattle. 1. Rumen digestion. Br. J. Nutr. 53:637-648.
  3. Khan, M. K. I., K. S. Huque, A. G. Miah and M. J. Khatun. 2000. Study of the performance of Red Chittagong cows under different production systems. Pak. J. Biol. Sci. 3:318-319.
  4. Mason, J. L. and V. Buvanendran. 1982. Breeding plans for ruminant livestock in the tropics. FAO Animal production and Health paper. No. 34-89.
  5. Peter, J., P. J. Rogers and J. E. Blundell. 1991. Mechanism of diet selection: the translation of needs into behaviour. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 50:65-70.
  6. Cooper, D. B. and I. Kyriazakis. 1995. Diet selection in sheep: the role of the rumen environment in the selection of a diet from two feeds that differ in their energy density. Br. J. Nutr. 74:39- 54.
  7. Duckworth, J. 1946. A statistical comparison of the influence of crude fibre on the digestibility of roughages by Bos indicus (Zebu) and Bos taurus cattle. Trop. Agric. (Trinidad), 23:4-8.
  8. French, M. H. 1940. The comparative digestive powers of Zebu and high grade European cattle. J. Agric. Sci. Cambridge, 30:503-510.
  9. Genstat. 1987. Genstat Reference Manual. Claredon Press, Oxford UK.
  10. Givens, D. I., E. Owen, R. F. E. Axford and H. M. Omed. 2000. Forage evaluation in ruminant nutrition. CABI Publishing.
  11. Habib, M., J. S. Syed and J. D. Leaver. 2006. Choice of grass or maize silage by lactating dairy cows: influence of supplementary protein, concentrate level and milk yield. Anim. Sci. 82:469-477.
  12. Ali, S. M. 1965. Seminar on East Pakistan Livestock. Director of Livestock Services, East Pakistan, Dhaka
  13. Phillips, G. D., R. E. Hungate, A. MacGregor and D. P. Hungate. 1960. Experiments on rumen retention time, fermentation rate and dry matter digestibility in Zebu and European type cattle on a grass hay ration. J. Agric. Sci. Cambridge, 54:417-420.
  14. Rose, S. P. and M. F. Fuller. 1995. Choice feeding systems for pigs. In: Recent advances in animal nutrition (Ed. P. C. Garnsworthy and D. J. A. Cole), pp. 211-222. Nottingham University Press, Loughborough.
  15. Sanda, I. A. 1999. The effect of abrupt and frequent changes in type and quality of forage feed offered to ruminants on nutrient utilization. M. Phil Thesis, Wye College, University of London.
  16. AOAC. 1990. Official Methods of Analysis. 15th edn. Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Washington DC.

Cited by

  1. Growth, carcass yield and meat quality attributes of Red Maasai sheep fed wheat straw-based diets vol.43, pp.1, 2011,
  2. Effect of monensin withdrawal on intake, digestion, and ruminal fermentation parameters by Bos taurus indicus and Bos taurus taurus steers consuming bermudagrass hay vol.95, pp.6, 2017,
  3. Effect of monensin inclusion on intake, digestion, and ruminal fermentation parameters by Bos taurus indicus and Bos taurus taurus steers consuming bermudagrass hay vol.95, pp.6, 2017,