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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effect of Species and Breed Within Species on Forage Intake and Growth in Hair Sheep Lambs and Meat Goat Kids Offered Alfalfa and Grass Hay Diets with a Corn-Based Supplement

item Turner, Kenneth

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 3, 2004
Publication Date: July 25, 2004
Citation: Wildeus, S., Turner, K.E., Collins, J.R. 2004. Effect of species and breed within species on forage intake and growth in hair sheep lambs and meat goat kids offered alfalfa and grass hay diets with a corn-based supplement. Journal of Animal Science. 82(1):223.

Technical Abstract: The ethnic market demand for meat from small ruminants has been rapidly increasing in the U.S. These markets prefer smaller and leaner carcasses than those produced by the traditional lamb markets, and are target markets for both hair sheep and meat goats. There is currently limited data directly comparing both meat goats and hair sheep under similar production conditions. Feed intake, growth, live grade, and blood metabolites were measured in 36 intact male hair sheep lambs, equally representing the Barbados Blackbelly (BB), Katahdin (KA), and St. Croix (SC) breeds, and 36 intact male goat kids, equally representing the F2 Boer cross (BX), Myotonic (MY) and Spanish (SP) breed types in a 98-d pen feeding study. Animals were allocated to 8 pens at 3.5 mo of age stratified by species and breed type, and offered either tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Shreb.; FES; 15.3% CP, 56.1% NDF, 37.9% ADF, 45.2% IVOMD) grass or alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.; ALF; 16.3% CP, 51% NDF, 36.1% ADF, 55.2 % IVOMD) hay (4 pens/forage type) plus a corn (Zea mays L.)-based concentrate (16% CP) at 2% BW. Forage DMI decreased (P<.01) during the trial, and ALF DMI was higher (P < 0.01) initially, but similar to FES hay as the trial progressed. The ADG was greater (P < 0.001) for hair sheep (165 g/d) than goats (106 g/d), and was greater when offered ALF (153 g/d) than FES (118 g/d) diets. When offered ALF diets, blood urea nitrogen (BUN; 21 vs. 19.9 mg/dl) and glucose (71 vs. 66.9 mg/dl) was higher (P < 0.01) compared to FES diets. Live grade was higher (P < 0.01) in hair sheep than goats and when offered ALF than FES. Within hair sheep, there were no differences in ADG and live grade between breeds, although KA had higher (P < 0.01) starting and final BW (42.7 vs. 36.2 and 38.2 kg, respectively) than BB and SC. In goats, BX had higher (P < 0.001) starting and final BW, and greater (P < 0.01) ADG than MY and SP (133 vs. 84 and 99 g/d). Live grade in goats was higher (P < .05) on ALF than FES, but not affected by breed. Goats had lower (P < 0.01) blood concentrations (mg/dl) of BUN (18.9 vs. 22.1), creatinine (0.55 vs. 0.58), and glucose (65.6 vs. 72.2) than hair sheep. Results suggested that an improved forage base in the diet uniformly increased performance independent of species and/or breed.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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