Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Animal and Nutritional Sciences

Committee Chair

Eugene E. D. Felton.


Alternative feeds are currently utilized by producers throughout much of animal agriculture as a method of reducing feed costs. Under careful resource management, and proper understanding of their potential effects on animal performance, some deciduous tree leaves may prove to be a valuable feed resource, as substantial tonnage exists in the forests of the United States. In order to assess their value as a feed source, fall-dropped Quercus alba (white oak) and Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip poplar) leaves were collected at the Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center in Beaver, WV by the USDA-ARS. Proximate analysis and fiber determination, as well as Prussian blue and protein precipitation assays were used to determine the chemical composition of white oak ( WOLM) and tulip poplar (TPLM) leaf meals, in order to determine their potential utilization as a feed source for ruminant livestock animals. Leaf meals were further evaluated as components of complete diets. In-situ ruminal dry matter digestibility (DMD) of WOLM and TPLM was determined by incubation for 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 24, 48, and 72 hours via a switch-back design in the rumen of two non-lactating dairy cows fed a corn silage- and grass haylage-based diet. In-situ ruminal DMD of WOLM did not differ (P>0.05) at 0, 1, 2, and 4 hours, but increased (P<0.01) at 8, 12, 24, 48, and 72 hours of incubation. In-situ ruminal DMD of TPLM tended to increase at 1 (P=0.06) and 2 (P=0.08) hours of incubation, while it increased (P<0.05) at all subsequent time points. Following the onset of digestion, rate of In-situ ruminal DMD appeared to increase through 24 hours of ruminal incubation for both WOLM and TPLM, while it appeared to decline after 24 hours of incubation in the rumen. Results indicate that WOLM and TPLM provide a readily digestible source of dry matter for ruminants. White oak leaf meal and TPLM were utilized as replacements for soybean hulls at 10 and 20 percent of total dietary DM in pelleted growing lamb diets to evaluate their potential as an alternative feed source for ruminants. Protein precipitating capacity of experimental growing lamb diets decreased (P<0.01) as a result of pelleting, indicating destruction or inactivation of associated protein-precipitating compounds. Replacement of SBH with leaf meal improved pellet quality (P<0.001), while replacement decreased dry matter (P<0.01), neutral detergent fiber (P<0.05), acid detergent fiber (P<0.01), and organic matter (P0.05) dry matter intake expressed as a percentage of body weight, or crude protein digestibility. Likewise, plasma urea nitrogen, urinary urea nitrogen, and urinary crude protein were unaffected (P>0.05) by replacement of soybean hulls with WOLM or TPLM. White oak leaf meal and TPLM appear to be readily digestible feedstuffs that show potential for utilization as alternative feed sources for ruminant livestock animals.