Growth and Body Composition of Artificially-Reared Lambs Exposed to Three Different Rearing Regimens.

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This study was designed to investigate the influence of pellet fibre level, milk replacer composition and age at weaning on growth and body composition of lambs reared artificially. Romney ram lambs were randomly allocated to one of three rearing treatments; HFP57: commercial milk replacer to 57 days of age, and high fibre concentrate pellets; HFP42: commercial milk replacer with early weaning at 42 days of age, and high fibre concentrate pellets; LFP42: high protein milk replacer from 2-16 days of age followed by commercial milk replacer with early weaning at 42 days of age, and low fibre concentrate pellets. Lambs were slaughtered at 57 days of age. Overall average daily liveweight gain of lambs did not differ (p > 0.05) between treatments. Dressing out percentage, carcass weight, empty small intestine and omental fat were higher (p < 0.05) in HFP57 than in both HFP42 and LFP42 lambs. HFP42 and LFP42 lambs had heavier (p < 0.05) empty rumen weights. Whole body protein content was higher (p < 0.05) in HFP42 lambs compared to both HFP57 and LFP42 lambs. Fat content and daily fat deposition were greater (p < 0.05) in HFP57 lambs than HFP42 and LFP42 lambs. Weaning lambs at 42 days of age with provision of either low or high fibre concentrate pellets, resulted in similar growth rates, reduced whole body fat deposition and was a more cost-effective rearing regimen.
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carcass and viscera composition, commercial milk replacer, cost analysis, early weaning, fat deposition, neutral detergent fibre, pellet fibre level, stomach components
Animals (Basel), 2021, 11 (12)