Voluntary feed intake, acid-base balance and partitioning of urinary nitrogen in lambs fed corn silage with added sodium bicarbonate or sodium sesquicarbonate.J Anim Sci 1989; 67(8):2116-22JA
An experiment with growing lambs was designed to test the hypothesis that alterations in blood acid-base status would influence intake of corn silage. Six wethers (29 kg) were fed a diet of corn silage (36% DM, 8% CP) supplemented with 1.25% urea and .2% sulfur. At feeding time, sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) and sodium sesquicarbonate (NaSC) were added to the silage at levels of 0, 2% or 4% of diet DM. The treatments were arranged as a 2 x 3 factorial, and the study was conducted as a 6 x 4 incomplete latin square with four 17-d periods. Voluntary intake of OM was not different (P greater than .05) between NaHCO3 (1,008 g/d) and NaSC (1,041 g/d). There was no significant interaction between type of buffer (NaHCO3 or NaSC) and level of buffer on any of the variables measured. The progressive increase in buffer load did not alter feed intake (P greater than .05), although there was a quadratic response (P less than .05) in urine pH and a linear increase (P less than .01) in blood HCO3- 2 h after feeding. There was no evidence that lambs fed corn silage experienced metabolic acid stress. Urinary excretion of ammonia and urea were indicative of changes, although not pronounced, in ammoniuria and ureapoiesis in response to bicarbonate loading. This study implies that corn silage imposes no "acid stress" on lambs and, consequently, that there is no nutritional benefit in adding buffers to corn silage for sheep.