Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Animal Science (MS)

Degree Level



Animal Science


Bruce C. Shanks

Committee Member

James D. Caldwell

Second Committee Member

Kenneth P. Coffey

Third Committee Member

Dirk Philipp

Fourth Committee Member

Nancy E. Jack


Biological sciences, Health and environmental sciences, Alfalfa, Alternative fertilizers, Horses, Sheep, Teff, Voluntary intake


Dairy slurry and poultry litter have increased in popularity as fertilizers in the agriculture industry. However, residual effects of these manures on voluntary intake of forages from subsequent harvests are not well known. The objectives of this two part study were to determine if moisture level of alfalfa silage and the use of dairy slurry as a fertilizer have an effect on intake and digestibility by sheep, and if forage species and the use of poultry litter as a fertilizer have an effect on intake by horses. Eighteen ewes (47.6 ± 5.34 kg) were used in experiment 1 and were allocated randomly to 1 of 6 treatments arranged in a 2 × 3 factorial treatment arrangement. Treatments consisted of high (HM; 46.8%) or low (LM; 39.7%) moisture alfalfa silage at baling after no slurry application (NS), slurry applied to stubble immediately after removal of the previous cutting (S0) or 14 d after the previous cutting (S14). Experiment 2 used 5 mature geldings (480.3 ± 52.89 kg) in a balanced incomplete block design to evaluate preference for bermudagrass (B) or teff (T) hay that was harvested after no litter application (NL), litter applied immediately after the removal of the previous cutting (L0) or 14 d after the previous cutting (L14). Animals were housed individually: sheep were housed in 1.4 × 4.3 m pens and horses were housed in 3.6 × 3.6 m indoor stalls with access to 3.6 × 7.6 m outdoor runs. All animals were offered mineral and had ad libitum access to water. Intake by sheep did not differ (P ≥ 0.13) across treatments. Dry matter and OM digestibility by sheep tended (P < 0.10) to be greater for LM compared with HM. In horses, intake was greater (P < 0.01) for bermudagrass and NL and L0 treatments compared with teff and L14. Therefore, the use of manure as a fertilizer may not affect voluntary intake in sheep, but application time may affect intake in horses.