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Intake, growth and carcass characteristics of lambs consuming low digestible hay and cereal grain

Ponnampalam, E.N. and Dixon, R.M. and Hosking, B.J. and Egan, A.R. (2004) Intake, growth and carcass characteristics of lambs consuming low digestible hay and cereal grain. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 114 (1-4). pp. 31-41.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2003.12.005

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Abstract

The influence of barley and oat grain supplements on hay dry matter intake (DMI), carcass components gain and meat quality in lambs fed a low quality basal diet was examined. Thirty five crossbred wether lambs (9 months of age) were divided into four groups. After adaptation to a basal diet of 85% oat hay and 15% lucerne hay for one week, an initial group of 11 was slaughtered. The weights of carcass components and digesta-free empty body weight (EBW) of this group was used to estimate the weight of carcass components of the other three experimental groups at the start of the experiment. The remaining three groups were randomly assigned to pens and fed ad libitum the basal diet alone (basal), basal with 300 g air dry barley grain (barley), basal with 300 g air dry oat grain (oat). Supplements were fed twice weekly (i.e., 900 g on Tuesday and 1200 g on Friday). After 13 weeks of feeding, animals were slaughtered and, at 24 h post-mortem meat quality and subcutaneous fat colour were measured. Samples of longissimus muscle were collected for determination of sarcomere length and meat tenderness. Hay DMI was reduced (P<0.01) by both barley and oat supplements. Lambs fed barley or oat had a higher and moderate digestibility of DM, and a higher intake of CP (P<0.05) and ME (P<0.01) than basal lambs. Final live weight of barley and oat lambs was higher (P<0.05) than basal, but this was not reflected in EBW or hot carcass weight. Lambs fed barley or oat had increases in protein (P<0.01) and water (P<0.001) in the carcass, but fat gain was not changed (P>0.05). There were no differences in eye muscle area or fat depth (total muscle and adipose tissue depth at 12th rib, 110 mm from midline; GR) among groups. The increased levels of protein and water components in the carcass of barley and oat fed lambs, associated with improved muscle production, were small and did not alter (P>0.05) any of the carcass/meat quality attributes compared to lambs fed a low quality forage diet. Feeding barley or oat grain at 0.9–1% of live weight daily to lambs consuming poor quality hay may not substantially improve carcass quality, but may be useful in maintaining body condition of lambs through the dry season for slaughter out of season

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Animal Science
Additional Information:© Elsevier
Keywords:Low quality roughage; Cereal grain; Live weight gain; Composition of gain; Carcass quality
Subjects:Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Deposited On:28 Jun 2004
Last Modified:24 Nov 2008 23:48

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