The effect of alkaline hydrogen peroxide (AHP) treatment and urea supplementation on the feeding value of wheat straw was investigated in a 2 x 2 factorial experiment with sheep. Bales of wheat straw were dipped for a period of 24 h in an AHP solution consisting of 1% hydrogen peroxide and 0.55% sodium hydroxide, applied at a treatment solution: substrate ratio of 35 : 1. Dry matter and organic matter digestibilities of the wheat straw were increased by 20.8 and 18.1 % (P <0.01), respectively, by AHP treatment. The digestibilities of cell wall constituents, acid detergent fibre and hemicellulose of the wheat straw were increased by 26.0, 21.4 and 42.9%, respectively, as a result of AHP treatment. Peroxide treatment alone did not affect the voluntary intake of the straw significantly. Urea supplementation, however, stimulated voluntary intake of the AHP-treated wheat straw considerably (P <0.01) by 57% to 81% above the other treatments.
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