Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Animal Science

First Advisor

Dr. Donald G. Ely

Second Advisor

Dr. Debra K. Aaron


Ten wether lambs were used to determine the effects of ergovaline consumption from endophyte infected tall fescue, on nutrient utilization and metabolism. Lambs were fed a diet of 23% endophyte free tall fescue seed (E-) and 77% concentrate from d -14 to -1 (adaptation phase). On d 0, five lambs were switched to an endophyte infected seed diet (E+) where they remained through d 14. Nutrient digestibilities tended to increase from adaptation through the acute (d 1 to 4) to subacute (d 10 to 14) phases when E- was fed. E+ digestibilities were highest (P < 0.05) in the acute phase. Lambs fed E+ had higher rectal temperatures in the acute (P < 0.01) and subacute phases (P < 0.05). Fecal recovery of ergovaline increased as day of collection increased in the acute and subacute phases. Lysergic acid fecal recovery increased with day of collection in the acute phase, but no effect was found in the subacute phase. Serum enzyme analyses did not indicate tissue damage from alkaloid consumption. These results demonstrate lambs try to adapt to endophyte infected fescue seed consumption through increased nutrient digestibilities and increased ergovaline and lysergic acid excretion.