SUMMARY: The limitations of methods previously used for counting rumen ciliates, and the value of developing a method of known accuracy, are discussed. Two counting-chambers, one based on the Sedgwick-Rafter cell, the other on the MacMaster eelworm-counting cell, were constructed and tested. A MacMaster-type cell was adopted. The preparations of suitable suspensions for counting organisms from washed suspensions and from rumen contents are described. The counting technique adopted was found to be reliable; its accuracy depends upon the number of organisms counted. In one sheep on a constant diet, day-to-day differences in rumen ciliate population were far greater than the differences found throughout the rumen at any one time, or the variations due to technique.


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