Energy requirements for maintenance and growth of early-weaned Dorper crossbred male lambs

G.-S. Xu, Tao Ma, Shoukun Ji, Qiyu Diao, K.-D. Deng, C.-G. Jiang, Yan Tu - Livestock Science Volume 177, July 2015, Pages 71-78

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

This study from China investigated the NE and ME requirements of Dorper crossbred lambs (20–35 kg BW).

What is the problem?

Dorper’s are a hardy South African breed derived from a cross between the Black-headed Persian and the Dorset Horn. In recent years, the Dorper sheep were imported from China and used to improve growth performance and carcass traits of thin-tailed Han sheep, an indigenous sheep breed famous for precociousness and prolificacy. The Dorper x thin-tailed Han crossbred has become one of the most important sheep breeds for mutton purpose in China.

Energy is important in the animal production and knowledge on energy requirements of farm animals can be valuable to ensure farm profitability. As the nutritional requirements for the Dorper crossbred sheep have not been well established, the British and American nutritional systems are most commonly adopted for diet formulation. This study aimed to investigate the net and metabolizable energy (NE and ME) requirements of Dorper crossbred lambs.

What did the research involve?

  • Thirty-five Dorper × thin-tailed Han crossbred intact male lambs weaned at approximately 50 d of age (20.26±1.29 kg of BW), were used.
  • Seven randomly selected lambs were slaughtered at the start of the trial (baseline group).
  • An intermediate group consisting of 7 randomly selected lambs fed for ad libitum intake were slaughtered when the lambs reached an average BW of 28.2 kg.
  • The remaining 21 lambs were allotted randomly to 3 levels of dry matter intake: ad libitum or restricted to 70 or 40% of the ad libitum intake.
  • All the lambs were slaughtered when the ad libitum fed sheep reached 35 kg of BW.
  • Total body energy, crude protein, fat, ash, and moisture contents were determined. In a digestibility trial, fifteen Dorper × thin-tailed Han crossbred intact male lambs (32.38±2.23 kg of BW) were housed in metabolism cages and used in a completely randomized design experiment to evaluate the ME value of the diet at 3 feed intake levels.

What were the key findings?

  • The maintenance requirements for NE and ME were 250.61 and 374.21 kJ/kg^0.75 of standard body weight.
  • The partial efficiency of energy for maintenance was 0.67
  • The NE requirement for growth ranges from 1.12 to 5.31 MJ/d (100–350 g of ADG).
  • The partial efficiency (kg) of ME for growth was 0.42.

Net energy requirements for growth ranged from 1.12 to 5.31 MJ/d, for the lambs gaining 100 to 350 g/d from 20 to 35 kg BW. Partial efficiency of ME for growth was 0.42.

Final Comment

In conclusion, the current study suggested that the NE requirement for maintenance and growth of Dorper × thin-tailed Han early-weaned crossbred lambs were lower than those reported by existing British and American nutritional systems.

2015 - China - G.-S. Xu, Tao Ma, Shoukun Ji, Qiyu Diao, K.-D. Deng, C.-G. Jiang, Yan Tu - Livestock Science Volume 177, July 2015, Pages 71-78
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