The study was designed to measure (i) dry-matter intake (DMI) of sheep when diets including different tannins were offered and (ii) the effect of administration of polyethylene glycol (PEG), a tannin-binding agent, on DMI of tannin-rich diets. Acacia saligna phyllodes, a potential food for sheep, quebracho powder or tannic acid were added to a concentrate diet that served as a control and were offered to 16 ewe lambs (34.6 (s.d. 3.3) kg) that is, four lambs per diet. A. saligna has high levels of tannins; quebracho is a complex mixture of phenolic compounds in which condensed tannins predominate while tannic acid is a relatively pure example of a hydrolysable tannin. Intake was measured during four periods (I to IV) of 10 days each in which PEG was offered during periods II and IV. Food and water were available ad libitum. The DMI of the concentrate diet ranged between 925 g/day and 1050 g/day which was higher than for the other three diets (P < 0.05). The lambs consumed approximately 600 g dry matter (DM) of the diet that included 400 g A. saligna phyllodes per kg, and 500 g DM of the diets that included 100 g/kg quebracho or 150 g/kg tannic acid. With the quebracho and tannic acid diets, there was a distinct increase in intake when PEG was added and a decrease without PEG. This was not so with the Acacia diet when the intake remained high in period III without PEG and increased again in period IV with PEG. Body mass of control lambs increased in all periods and the increase was greater than in the other diets (P < 0.05). With the quebracho and tannic acid diets, there was an increase in body mass when PEG was added and a decrease without PEG. With the Acacia diet, there was a decrease in body mass in period I and an increase thereafter, even without PEG in period III.
- Food intake
- Polyethylene glycol