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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 66 No. 1, p. 13-15
    Received: Apr 12, 1973

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Weanling Meadow Vole Responses to Crownvetch Forage1

  1. J. S. Shenk,
  2. M. L. Risius and
  3. R. F. Barnes2



Crownvetch (Coronilla varia L.) has been reported to contain antiquality constituents. Feeding trials were conducted to determine the feasibility of using the weanling meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus) as a bioassay to assess the effects of these antiquality constituents on feed intake, body-weight change, and ration digestibility. The feeding value of crownvetch forage was compared with that of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.), and sainfoin (Onobrychis viciaefolia Scop.) incorporated at 15% dry weight into a nutritionally adequate and balanced diet. Voles had lower intake and lost weight when fed crownvetch than when fed the other legume forages. No relationship existed between intake or weight loss and apparent digestibility. However, not all crownvetch forages resulted in lower intake and weight loss, and samples differed in their capacity to cause adverse vole responses from year to year. Voles also differed in their responses to forage fed from individual plants of the ‘Chemung’ cultivar. Low intake appeared to be the primary reason for the weight loss and death which occurred on many samples. The information presented indicates the presence of an antiquality constituent(s) in crownvetch forage that should be thoroughly investigated for its effects upon other animal species, especially rapidly growing monogastrics.

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