Effects of fatty acid supplements on feed intake, and feeding and chewing behavior of lactating dairy cows

K. J. Harvatine, M. S. Allen

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82 Scopus citations


Saturated and unsaturated fatty acid supplements (FS) were evaluated for effects on feed intake, meal patterns, and chewing behavior. Eight ruminally and duodenally cannulated cows were used in a replicated 4 × 4 Latin square design experiment with 21-d periods. Treatments were control and a linear substitution of 2.5% fatty acids from supplemented saturated FS (SAT; prilled, hydrogenated free fatty acids) for partially unsaturated FS (UNS; calcium soaps of long-chain fatty acids). All rations contained identical forage and concentrate components including 37.2% forage and 13.5% cottonseed. Dry matter intake for SAT was not different from control, whereas increasing unsaturated FS linearly decreased dry matter intake by 3.2 kg. Wet weight of ruminal digesta decreased linearly up to 11.3 kg (13%) with increasing unsaturated FS. Adding supplementary fatty acids did not change meal number, meal length, or time between meals compared with control, but increasing unsaturated FS decreased meal size 0.22 kg (9%) within FS. The SAT treatment increased time spent ruminating by 56 (10%) and 42 (7%) min/d compared with control and UNS, respectively. Increasing saturated FS did not affect frequency of rumination bouts or interval between bouts, but increased rumination bout length by 5.6 min. Water intake was not affected by treatment, but increasing saturated FS linearly decreased the number of drinking bouts per day by up to 2.9 bouts (23%). Increased unsaturated fatty acid flow to the duodenum decreased feed intake by decreasing meal size, and increased saturated fatty acid flow to the duodenum increased rumination time per day by increasing rumination bout length.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1104-1112
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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