Interpretive Summary: Effects of dietary energy density and supplemental rumen undegradable protein on intake, viscera, and carcass composition of lambs recovering from nutritional restriction
By: Holland C Dougherty, Mark Evered, James W Oltjen, Roger S Hegarty, Stephen A Neutze, V Hutton Oddy
Animal performance is determined by the combined effects of both prior and current nutrition. The present study used a 2 × 3 × 4 factorial to examine the effects of prior feeding level (HI or LO) on subsequent ad-libitum intake of diets varying in energy density (7.8, 9.2, 10.7 MJ/kg DM) and level of supplemental rumen undegradable protein (RUP; 0, 30, 60, and 90g/d). By week 3 of refeeding, LO and HI lambs had similar feed intake, but LO lambs had proportionally more gut and liver tissue and were lighter and leaner at final slaughter. As dietary energy density increased, the rumen became proportionally smaller while the liver became proportionally larger. Liver size increased with increasing RUP, and lambs fed 30 and 60 g/d were fatter than other lambs. However, lambs fed 90 g/d RUP had less fat than other lambs, as the increased energy requirements of a larger liver and of disposing of excess nitrogen appeared to outweigh any nutritional benefits. Understanding how prior nutrition affects current performance, as well as how tissues vary in their response to the same diet, is key to improving our understanding of animal performance and response to change.
Read the full article on the Journal of Animal Science.