Winter-feeding systems for gestating sheep I. Effects on pre- and postpartum ewe performance and lamb progeny preweaning performance.
Because of the unique features of the ruminant digestive system, variations in diet composition and intake produce dramatic changes in ruminal fermentation. Optimizing nutritional management requires an understanding of how these variations and changes influence digestion and metabolism. Although the pancreas plays a central role in digestion and subsequent nutrient metabolism, relatively little is known about pancreatic adaptation to nutritional changes in the ruminant. Increasing starch intake has been suggested to increase pancreatic alpha-amylase; however, recent work suggests that dietary energy per se may drive these changes, and interactions with other nutrients, such as protein, may exist. Studies describing the influence of altered protein and lipid intakes on pancreatic adaptation in ruminants are lacking. Pancreatic secretion of both insulin and glucagon respond to the intravenous infusion of VFA in a dramatic fashion; however, feeding studies suggest that the influence of VFA on insulin and glucagon may be more subtle. Interactions exist between stimulatory signals and physiological state, such as lactation. Assessment of pancreatic endocrine secretion is further complicated by a variable removal of insulin and glucagon by hepatic tissues. These studies point out that pancreatic hormone secretion is controlled by integrated and complex mechanisms. Studies of these controlling mechanisms should consider the entire array to more fully understand hormone secretion.