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Energy and protein requirements of Santa Ines lambs, a breed of hair sheep

  • E. S. Pereira (a1), F. W. R. Lima (a1), M. I. Marcondes (a2), J. P. P. Rodrigues (a2), A. C. N. Campos (a1), L. P. Silva (a1), L. R. Bezerra (a3), M. W. F. Pereira (a1) and R. L. Oliveira (a4)...

An experiment was carried to evaluate the energy and protein requirements for the growth and maintenance of lambs of different sex classes. In all, 38 hair lambs (13.0±1.49 kg initial BW and 2 months old) were allocated in a factorial design with diet restriction levels (ad libitum, 30% and 60% feed restriction) and sex classes (castrated and non-castrated males). Four animals from each sex class were slaughtered at the beginning of the trial as a reference group to estimate the initial empty BW and body composition. The remaining lambs were weighed weekly to calculate BW gain (BWG), and when the animals fed ad libitum reached an average BW of 30 kg, all of the experimental animals were slaughtered. Before slaughter, fasted BW (FBW) was determined after 18 h without feed and water. Feed restriction induced reductions in body fat and energy concentration, whereas water restriction showed the opposite effect, and the protein concentration was not affected. The increase in BW promoted increases in body fat and energy content, and these increases were greater in castrated lambs, whereas the protein content was similar between classes tending to stabilize. The net energy required for gain (NEg) and the net protein required for gain (NPg) were not affected by sex class; therefore, an equation was generated for the combined results of both castrated and non-castrated lambs. The NEg varied from 1.13 to 2.01 MJ/day for lambs with BW of 15 and 30 kg and BWG of 200 g. The NPg varied from 24.57 to 16.33 g/day for lambs with BW of 15 and 30 kg and BWG of 200 g. The metabolizable energy efficiency for gain (k g) was 0.37, and the metabolizable protein efficiency for gain (k pg) was 0.28. The net energy required for maintenance (NEm) and the net requirement of protein for maintenance (NPm) did not differ between castrated and non-castrated lambs, with values of 0.241 MJ/kg FBW0.75 per day and 1.30 g/kg FBW0.75 per day, respectively. The metabolizable energy efficiency for maintenance (k m) was 0.60, and the efficiency of metabolizable protein use for maintenance (k pm) was 0.57. Nutritional requirements for growth and maintenance did not differ between castrated and non-castrated lambs. This study emphasizes the importance of updating the tables of international committees and of including data obtained from studies with sheep breeds raised in tropical conditions, with the purpose of improving the productive efficiency of the animals

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