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J Anim Sci. 2014 May;92(5):2161-9. doi: 10.2527/jas.2013-7314. Epub 2014 Mar 18.

Energy requirements of Dorper crossbred ewe lambs.

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  • 1Feed Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China.


The ME and NE requirements of Dorper crossbred ewe lambs grown from 35 to 50 kg BW were assessed in a comparative slaughter trial. Thirty-five ewe lambs (33.5 ± 0.6 kg BW) of F1 crosses of purebred Dorper and thin-tailed Han sheep were used: 7 lambs were slaughtered at the start of the trial to provide baseline measures of body composition and 7 lambs were fed ad libitum and slaughtered when they reached 43 kg BW to provide intermediate measures of body composition. The remaining 21 lambs were divided into 3 groups of 7 lambs each and fed a pelleted mixed diet (concentrate:roughage = 44:56, DM basis) for ad libitum intake or 65 or 45% of ad libitum intake. All 3 groups were slaughtered when the ad libitum group reached 50 kg BW. Total body energy, N, fat, ash, and moisture content were measured. In a separate trial, 15 ewe lambs (39.5 ± 0.7 kg BW) of F1 crosses of purebred Dorper and thin-tailed Han sheep were housed in metabolism cages to evaluate the ME value of the diet at each of the 3 levels of feed intake. In vivo methane production was measured by open-circuit respirometry along with the collection of all feces and urine. The daily NEm requirement of the ewe lambs was 280 kJ/kg metabolic BW (BW(0.75)) or 292 kJ/kg metabolic shrunk BW (SBW(0.75)), whereas the daily ME requirement for maintenance was 418 kJ/kg BW(0.75) or 437 kJ/kg SBW(0.75), with a partial efficiency of ME utilization for maintenance of 0.67. The NEg requirement ranged from 1.37 to 3.94 MJ/d for ADG from 100 to 250 g BW, and the partial efficiency of ME utilization for gain was 0.44. The NE and ME requirements of Dorper × thin-tailed Han crossbred ewe lambs were lower than the recommendations of the United States' nutritional system.

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