Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Animal Science


A rapid change of ruminants from high-roughage diets, often used in background feeding programs, to high-concentrate diets used in the finishing phase tends to promote various digestive tract disorders. A major change in diets gradually made over a period of 3 to 4 weeks generally allows time for the rumen microflora to become adapted to the new conditions and minimizes digestive problems. However, performance during this period is often unsatisfactory. In the short-term feedlot finishing of ruminants for slaughter, the importance of profitable weight gains during the initial adaptation phase of the feeding period becomes relatively more important. Methods of accelerating adaptation to high-concentrate diets are being studied; bentonite, a montmorillonite clay, and sodium bicarbonate are two of the materials that have received attention as potential feeding aids to be used for this purpose. The purposes of he studies detailed in this thesis were to study the potential beneficial and detrimental effects of bentonite or sodium bicarbonate in adapting lambs to high-concentrate diets and to determine the effect of dietary bentonite on the digestion and retention or dietary nutrients.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Sheep -- Feeding and feeds


Sodium bicarbonate



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University