Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2020) | Viewed by 73540

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Departamento de Producción Agraria, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: ruminant nutrition; digestive physiology; methane; rumen microbiota; feed additives to modify rumen fermentation; feed evaluation

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Guest Editor
Department of Physiology and Biochemistry of Animal Nutrition, Estación Experimental del Zaidin (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas), C/ ProfesorAlbareda 1, 18008 Granada, Spain
Interests: proteins; animal production; animal nutrition; digestive physiology; ruminant nutrition; feed evaluation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The world’s population of sheep and goats is 1.2 and 1.0 billion heads, respectively, and is mainly located in Asia and Africa. Small ruminants have an important role as providers of high-quality food for humans without competing for potentially human-edible feed resources. Sheep, and especially goats, have also a great capacity to adapt to adverse conditions such as arid and semi-arid ecosystems that will increase in the future as a result of climate change. Small ruminants can be raised under a wide range of production systems, from intensive production farming systems to small-scale traditional farming. In any of these systems, nutrition is key to ensuring the sustainability and efficiency of production, but also influences animal health, the quality of products (milk and meat), and levels of polluting emissions. Progress in feeding strategies depends to a large extent on the advances made in the knowledge of small ruminant metabolism, and especially of the role of rumen microbiota. Developments in the knowledge of protein and energy metabolism, the rumen microbiota, the influence of early feeding on adult metabolism, new sources of nutrients, and the influence of nutrition on environmental impacts and product quality, among others, are needed. Contributions on any of these topics or others related to them, including original research papers and literature reviews, are welcome for this Special Issue.

Prof. María Dolores Carro
Prof. Eduarda Molina-Alcaide
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • sheep
  • goats
  • metabolism
  • nutrition
  • methane
  • nitrogen
  • rumen fermentation and microbiota
  • feeds
  • early feeding
  • immunity

Published Papers (21 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 2576 KiB  
Article
Grazing Seasons and Stocking Rates Affects the Relationship between Herbage Traits of Alpine Meadow and Grazing Behaviors of Tibetan Sheep in the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau
by Xiang Xiao, Tao Zhang, Jay Peter Angerer and Fujiang Hou
Animals 2020, 10(3), 488; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030488 - 15 Mar 2020
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 3021
Abstract
Under the combined effect of stocking rate and grazing season, it is very significant to ascertain whether there is a quantitative relationship between plant community characteristics, chemical composition of forage, and grazing behaviors of Tibetan sheep to better utilize native pasture in the [...] Read more.
Under the combined effect of stocking rate and grazing season, it is very significant to ascertain whether there is a quantitative relationship between plant community characteristics, chemical composition of forage, and grazing behaviors of Tibetan sheep to better utilize native pasture in the northeast region of the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau (QTP). The two consecutive year observation experiments on Tibetan sheep’s grazing behavior were conducted to evaluate the above-stated relationships between stocking rates of 8 sheep/ha and 16 sheep/ha stocking rates in the both the warm and cold seasons. The results demonstrated that at 8 sheep/ha or in the warm season, due to better forage quality, Tibetan sheep had higher herbage mass, forage crude protein (CP) concentration, CP intake, dry matter intake (DMI), and interval between feed boluses and total number of steps, as well as lower fiber concentration than that at 16 sheep/ha or in the cold season. Diurnal intake rate and walking velocity while intaking increased as both average daylight ambient temperature and relative humidity rose. Using the CP concentration, acid detergent fiber (ADF) concentration, neutral detergent fiber (NDF) concentration, and forage metabolic energy (ME) to predict grazing behavior yielded the best fit equation for Tibetan sheep. For local herdsmen to sustainably use the alpine meadow, 8 sheep/ha in the warm season should be considered as the better grazing condition for preventing grassland degradation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
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10 pages, 248 KiB  
Article
Effect of a Diet Supplemented with Malic Acid–Heat (MAH) Treated Sunflower on Carcass Characteristics, Meat Composition and Fatty Acids Profile in Growing Lambs
by Andres Haro, Trinidad de Evan, Jesús De La Fuente Vázquez, María Teresa Díaz, Javier González Cano and María Dolores Carro
Animals 2020, 10(3), 487; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030487 - 15 Mar 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2202
Abstract
The objective of the study was to assess the effects of feeding sunflower meal (SM) and seeds (SS) protected against rumen degradation on carcass characteristics and composition and fatty acid (FA) profile of lamb meat. The protection of SM and SS was achieved [...] Read more.
The objective of the study was to assess the effects of feeding sunflower meal (SM) and seeds (SS) protected against rumen degradation on carcass characteristics and composition and fatty acid (FA) profile of lamb meat. The protection of SM and SS was achieved by treating both feeds with malic acid at 150 °C for 2 h (MAH treatment) and in a previous study this treatment was shown to decrease ruminal degradability of protein of both feeds and fat degradability of SS. Two homogeneous groups of 12 lambs each were fed ad libitum high-cereal concentrates and cereal straw from 14 to 26 kg of body weight. The two concentrates differed only in the treatment SM and SS, which were included either untreated (control) or MAH treated. The MAH-fed lambs had greater thickness of dorsal fat (p = 0.016) and greater (p ≤ 0.016) values of the color parameters a* (redness) and C* (chromaticity) of the Rectus abdominis muscle. However, there were no differences in carcass measurements and in water-holding capacity, chemical composition, pH, color, or fatty acid of Longissimus muscle. In summary, the MAH treatment resulted in only subtle changes in meat composition and quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
14 pages, 463 KiB  
Article
Effect of Dietary Crude Protein on Productive Efficiency, Nutrient Digestibility, Blood Metabolites and Gastrointestinal Immune Markers in Light Lambs
by Jonathan Pelegrin-Valls, Beatriz Serrano-Pérez, Daniel Villalba, María José Martín-Alonso, Juan Ramón Bertolín, Margalida Joy and Javier Álvarez-Rodríguez
Animals 2020, 10(2), 328; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020328 - 19 Feb 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2847
Abstract
This study hypothesized that reducing the level of crude protein (CP) in lambs′ feed may improve nutrient utilization and did not negatively affect their productive efficiency, blood metabolites, oxidative status (OS) or intestinal immune barrier function. A total of 120 weaned male Ripollesa [...] Read more.
This study hypothesized that reducing the level of crude protein (CP) in lambs′ feed may improve nutrient utilization and did not negatively affect their productive efficiency, blood metabolites, oxidative status (OS) or intestinal immune barrier function. A total of 120 weaned male Ripollesa lambs (45–60 days old and 15.0 ± 1.5 kg of body weight) were used. Four feed concentrates were formulated for two different phases (growing and finishing): CP20/19 group (20% and 19% of CP on dry matter basis, for each phase, respectively) and CP18/17 group (18% and 17% of CP on dry matter basis, for each phase, respectively). Lambs were randomly assigned to feeding treatments by balancing initial body weight between groups. The reduction of dietary CP level did not impair their growth performance parameters, while it did improve the apparent digestibility of organic matter. Furthermore, the lambs of the CP18/17 group showed lower plasma urea levels with no effect on OS (malondialdehyde levels) or gastrointestinal immunity markers (gene expression of interleukin 10 (IL10), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFA) and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGFB)). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
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11 pages, 281 KiB  
Article
Field Pea Can Be Included in Fattening Concentrate without Deleterious Effects on the Digestibility and Performance of Lambs
by Sandra Lobón, Margalida Joy, Isabel Casasús, Pablo Jose Rufino-Moya and Mireia Blanco
Animals 2020, 10(2), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020243 - 4 Feb 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2073
Abstract
The inclusion of different proportions of field pea (0%, 10%, 20% and 30%) for partially replacing soybean in the fattening concentrate of lambs was studied for its impact on apparent digestibility and performance during fattening. In the in vivo digestibility trial, 12 lambs [...] Read more.
The inclusion of different proportions of field pea (0%, 10%, 20% and 30%) for partially replacing soybean in the fattening concentrate of lambs was studied for its impact on apparent digestibility and performance during fattening. In the in vivo digestibility trial, 12 lambs (33 kg body weight) were placed in metabolic crates for two periods and received restricted amounts of concentrate and straw. The performance trial involved 54 lambs (13.4 kg body weight) that received concentrate plus straw ad libitum from weaning to slaughter. The intake of crude protein was higher in the 0% pea group than in the other groups (p < 0.05). The inclusion of field pea did not affect the digestibility, N retained or blood metabolites. In the performance trial, most traits were not affected, although a cubic effect of field pea inclusion on hot carcass weight and dressing percentage was observed (p < 0.05). The inclusion of field pea did not affect total protein, urea or β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations but it affected creatinine and cholesterol concentrations (p < 0.05). In conclusion, field pea can constitute up to 30% of the fattening concentrate of lambs without deleterious effects on the digestibility and performance during fattening, and with minor effects on carcass characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
12 pages, 297 KiB  
Article
Effects of Feeding Multinutrient Blocks Including Avocado Pulp and Peels to Dairy Goats on Feed Intake and Milk Yield and Composition
by Trinidad de Evan, María Dolores Carro, Julia Eugenia Fernández Yepes, Ana Haro, Lesly Arbesú, Manuel Romero-Huelva and Eduarda Molina-Alcaide
Animals 2020, 10(2), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020194 - 23 Jan 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3054
Abstract
Twelve Murciano-Granadina dairy goats were divided into two homogeneous groups, which were fed either a control diet composed of 40% alfalfa hay and 60% concentrate or a diet based on 40% alfalfa hay, 40% concentrate and 20% multinutrient blocks, including 14.8% avocado pulp [...] Read more.
Twelve Murciano-Granadina dairy goats were divided into two homogeneous groups, which were fed either a control diet composed of 40% alfalfa hay and 60% concentrate or a diet based on 40% alfalfa hay, 40% concentrate and 20% multinutrient blocks, including 14.8% avocado pulp and peels (APP). Total dry matter (DM) intake was similar (p = 0.709) for both diets, but APP-fed goats had lower (p = 0.024) concentrate intake and tended (p = 0.063) to have lower fat intake compared with those fed the control diet. The average intake of blocks was low (66.4 g DM/d), which was attributed to avocado lipids oxidation and rancidity. Neither milk yield (p = 0,921) nor the efficiency of energy and nitrogen use were affected (p = 0.909 and 0. 840, respectively) by the diet, but milk fat tended to be greater (p = 0.057) in the APP-fed goats compared with the animals fed the control diet. Other milk components were similar (p ≥ 0.110) for both diets, and only subtle changes in the milk fatty acid profile were observed. In summary, the intake of blocks containing avocado wastes by dairy goats was low probably due to avocado lipids oxidation causing off-flavors and reduced palatability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
10 pages, 256 KiB  
Article
Effects of Decreasing Dietary Crude Protein Level on Growth Performance, Nutrient Digestion, Serum Metabolites, and Nitrogen Utilization in Growing Goat Kids (Capra. hircus)
by Wen Zhu, Wei Xu, Congcong Wei, Zijun Zhang, Chunchao Jiang and Xingyong Chen
Animals 2020, 10(1), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010151 - 16 Jan 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 4574
Abstract
The effects of decreasing dietary crude protein (CP) level on growth performance, nutrient digestion, serum metabolites, and nitrogen utilization in growing goat kids were investigated in the current study. Thirty-six male Anhui white goat kids were randomly assigned to one of three CP [...] Read more.
The effects of decreasing dietary crude protein (CP) level on growth performance, nutrient digestion, serum metabolites, and nitrogen utilization in growing goat kids were investigated in the current study. Thirty-six male Anhui white goat kids were randomly assigned to one of three CP content diets: 14.8% (control), 13.4%, and 12.0% of dry matter, respectively. Diets were isoenergetic. The experiment lasted for 14 weeks, with the first two weeks being for adaptation. Results showed that the low-CP diet decreased average daily gain, feed efficiency, digestibility of dry matter, organic matter, crude protein, and fiber. No significant changes were observed in dry-matter intake. With a decrease in dietary CP level, fecal nitrogen excretion (% of nitrogen intake) increased linearly, whereas CP intake, blood urea nitrogen, urinary nitrogen excretion (% of nitrogen intake), and total nitrogen excretion (% of nitrogen intake) decreased. Serum glucose concentration decreased, while concentrations of low-density lipoproteins and non-esterified fatty acids increased with the low-CP diet. In conclusion, decreasing the dietary CP level decreased goats’ nitrogen excretion, but with restrictive effects on growth performance. A diet containing 13.4% CP is optimal for reducing nitrogen excretion without any adverse effect on growth performance of Anhui white goat kids. This concentration is 1.4% points lower than the NRC recommendations and thus is also environmentally beneficial on the input side because it decreases the use of feed (soy) protein. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
16 pages, 1613 KiB  
Article
Ruminal Microbiota and Fermentation in Response to Dietary Protein and Energy Levels in Weaned Lambs
by Xiaokang Lv, Kai Cui, Minli Qi, Shiqin Wang, Qiyu Diao and Naifeng Zhang
Animals 2020, 10(1), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010109 - 9 Jan 2020
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 2973
Abstract
Supplying sufficient nutrients, such as dietary energy and protein, has a great effect on the growth and rumen development of ruminants. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of dietary energy and protein levels on growth performance, microbial diversity, and structural and [...] Read more.
Supplying sufficient nutrients, such as dietary energy and protein, has a great effect on the growth and rumen development of ruminants. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of dietary energy and protein levels on growth performance, microbial diversity, and structural and physiological properties of the rumen in weaned lambs. A total of 64 two-month-old Hu lambs were randomly allotted to 2 × 2 factorial arrangements with four replicates and with four lambs (half male and half female) in each replicate. The first factor was two levels of dietary metabolizable energy (ME) density (ME = 10.9 MJ/Kg or 8.6 MJ/Kg), and the second factor was two levels of dietary crude protein (CP) content (CP = 15.7% or 11.8%). The trial lasted for 60 days. A low dietary energy level restrained the growth performance of lambs (p < 0.05). The ruminal concentration of acetate and the ratio of acetate to propionate increased but the propionate concentration decreased significantly with the low energy diet. However, the rumen morphology was not affected by the diet energy and protein levels. Moreover, a low energy diet increased ruminal bacterial diversity but reduced the abundance of the phylum Proteobacteria (p < 0.05) and genus Succinivibrionaceae_uncultured (p < 0.05), which was associated with the change in ruminal fermentation phenotypes. By indicator species analysis, we found three indicator OTUs in the high energy group (Succinivibrionaceae_uncultured, Veillonellaceae_unclassified and Veillonellaceae_uncultured (p < 0.01)) and two indicator OTUs in the low energy group (Bacteroidales_norank and Lachnospiraceae_uncultured (p < 0.01)). In conclusion, these findings added new dimensions to our understanding of the diet effect on rumen microbial community and fermentation response, and are of great significance for establishing the optimal nutrient supply strategy for lambs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
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12 pages, 276 KiB  
Article
Parenteral Cu Supplementation of Late-Gestating and Lactating Iberian Red Deer Hinds Fed a Balanced Diet Reduces Somatic Cell Count and Modifies Mineral Profile of Milk
by Martina Pérez Serrano, Andrés José García, Tomás Landete-Castillejos, Jamil Cappelli, José Ángel Gómez, Francisco Hidalgo and Laureano Gallego
Animals 2020, 10(1), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010083 - 3 Jan 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1859
Abstract
This study describes the effects that Cu supplementation of late-gestating and lactating females (hinds) of Iberian red deer fed a balanced diet have on milk production, composition, and somatic cell count (SCC). Experimental hinds (n = 9) were subcutaneously injected every 42 [...] Read more.
This study describes the effects that Cu supplementation of late-gestating and lactating females (hinds) of Iberian red deer fed a balanced diet have on milk production, composition, and somatic cell count (SCC). Experimental hinds (n = 9) were subcutaneously injected every 42 days with Cu (0.83 mg Cu/kg body weight) from day 202 of gestation until the end of lactation (week 18). Control hinds (n = 8) were injected with a physiological saline solution with the same volume and at the same frequency as the experimental group. Copper supplementation decreased the SCC from 1.64 to 1.36 log 10/mL (p = 0.003) and modified the milk mineral profile. In particular, milk from hinds supplemented with Cu had more Ca (p = 0.02), Mg (p = 0.06), and K (p = 0.03) than milk from control hinds. However, Cu supplementation did not influence the Cu content of milk. Therefore, it can be concluded that Cu supplementation of hinds fed a balanced diet from late-gestation to the end of lactation could be a good strategy to reduce SCC and modify the mineral profile of milk increasing its Ca content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
16 pages, 1430 KiB  
Article
Milk Urea Concentration in Dairy Sheep: Accounting for Dietary Energy Concentration
by Valeria Giovanetti, Filippo Boe, Mauro Decandia, Giovanni Cristoforo Bomboi, Alberto Stanislao Atzori, Antonello Cannas and Giovanni Molle
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1118; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121118 - 11 Dec 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3048
Abstract
In dairy sheep milk urea concentration (MUC) is highly and positively correlated with dietary crude protein (CP) content and, to a lesser extent, with protein intake. However, the effect of dietary energy and carbohydrate sources on MUC of lactating ewes is not clear. [...] Read more.
In dairy sheep milk urea concentration (MUC) is highly and positively correlated with dietary crude protein (CP) content and, to a lesser extent, with protein intake. However, the effect of dietary energy and carbohydrate sources on MUC of lactating ewes is not clear. Thus, the objective of this study was to assess the effects of diets differing in energy concentration and carbohydrate sources on MUC values in lactating dairy ewes. Two experiments were conducted (experiment 1, E1, and experiment 2, E2) on Sarda ewes in mid and late lactation kept in metabolic cages for 23 d. In both experiments, homogeneous groups of five ewes were submitted to four (in E1) or three (in E2) dietary treatments, consisting of pelleted diets ranging from low energy (high-fiber diets: 1.2–1.4 Mcal of net energy for lactation (NEL)) to high energy (high-starch diets: 1.7–1.9 Mcal of NEL) contents, but with a similar CP concentration (18.4% dry matter (DM), on average). Each diet had a different main ingredient as follows: corn flakes, barley meal, beet pulp, or corn cobs in E1 and corn meal, dehydrated alfalfa, or soybean hulls in E2. Regression analysis using treatment means from both experiments showed that the best predictor of MUC (mg/100 mL) was the dietary NEL (Mcal/kg DM, MUC = 127.6 − 51.2 × NEL, R2 = 0.85, root of the mean squared error (rmse) = 4.36, p < 0.001) followed by the ratio CP/NEL (g/Mcal, MUC = −14.9 + 0.5 × CP/ NEL, R2 = 0.83, rmse = 4.63, p < 0.001). A meta-regression of an extended database on stall-fed dairy ewes, including the E1 and E2 experimental data (n = 44), confirmed the predictive value of the CP/ NEL ratio, which resulted as the best single predictor of MUC (MUC = −13.7 + 0.5 × CP/NEL, R2 = 0.93, rmse = 3.30, p < 0.001), followed by dietary CP concentration (MUC = −20.7 + 3.7 × CP, R2 = 0.82, rmse = 4.89, p < 0.001). This research highlights that dietary energy content plays a pivotal role in modulating the relationship between MUC and dietary CP concentration in dairy sheep. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
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14 pages, 318 KiB  
Article
Replacing Soybean Meal with Urea in Diets for Heavy Fattening Lambs: Effects on Growth, Metabolic Profile and Meat Quality
by Cristina Saro, Javier Mateo, Sonia Andrés, Iván Mateos, María José Ranilla, Secundino López, Alba Martín and Francisco Javier Giráldez
Animals 2019, 9(11), 974; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110974 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3686
Abstract
Thirty-six Assaf male lambs (29.4 ± 3.10 kg body weight (BW)) were used to study the feasibility of including urea (at 0, 0.6 or 0.95% of dry matter for Control, Urea1, and Urea2 diets, respectively) in substitution of soybean meal in fattening diets. [...] Read more.
Thirty-six Assaf male lambs (29.4 ± 3.10 kg body weight (BW)) were used to study the feasibility of including urea (at 0, 0.6 or 0.95% of dry matter for Control, Urea1, and Urea2 diets, respectively) in substitution of soybean meal in fattening diets. Animals were individually penned and feed intake was recorded daily. Blood samples were taken at days 35 and 63 of the experimental period to determine the acid-base status and the biochemical profile. At the end of the experiment (nine weeks), lambs were slaughtered, ruminal contents were collected and carcass and meat quality were evaluated. There were not differences (p > 0.05) among treatments in dry matter intake, animal performance, ruminal fermentation pattern, and carcass and meat parameters. Serum albumin concentration was higher and concentration of HCO3 and total CO2 in blood were lower in Urea2 compared to Urea1 and Control lambs. These results, together with the tendency to lower (p = 0.065) blood pH in this group might suggest a moderate metabolic acidosis. Partial replacement of soybean meal with urea did not impair growth rate in heavy fattening Assaf lambs (from 29 to 50 kg body weight), reduced feeding costs and had no adverse effects on feed efficiency, rumen fermentation and carcass and meat quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
10 pages, 248 KiB  
Article
Performance and Ruminal Parameters of Boer Crossbred Goats Fed Diets that Contain Crude Glycerin
by Higor Bezerra, Edson Santos, Juliana Oliveira, Gleidson Carvalho, Fabiano Silva, Meiry Cassuce, Alexandre Perazzo, Anderson Zanine and Ricardo Pinho
Animals 2019, 9(11), 967; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110967 - 13 Nov 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2401
Abstract
This study aimed to evaluate the effects of four levels of crude glycerin (0, 50, 100, or 150 g/kg on a dry matter basis) on intake, digestibility, production performance, and ruminal parameters for finishing Boer crossbred goats. Thirty-two crossbred, castrated Boer × undefined [...] Read more.
This study aimed to evaluate the effects of four levels of crude glycerin (0, 50, 100, or 150 g/kg on a dry matter basis) on intake, digestibility, production performance, and ruminal parameters for finishing Boer crossbred goats. Thirty-two crossbred, castrated Boer × undefined breed goat kids, with an initial average weight of 17.8 ± 2.2 kg and approximately four months old, were distributed in a completely randomized design, with four treatments and eight repetitions. The dry matter and neutral detergent fiber intakes, both in g/day and percent of body weight, linearly decreased (p ≤ 0.05) with increased inclusion levels of crude glycerin in the diet. The dietary crude glycerin levels linearly decreased (p ≤ 0.01) the digestibility coefficients of ether extract and quadratically increased (p = 0.04) digestibility coefficients of neutral detergent fiber. The final weight, total weight gain, and average daily gain for the animals showed a linear decrease (p ≤ 0.02) as dietary crude glycerin levels increased. The addition of crude glycerin caused a linear increase in ruminal pH (p ≤ 0.01), which ranged from 6.27 to 6.49 for diets with 0 and 150 g/kg crude glycerin, respectively. The concentration of ruminal NH3–N exhibited a linear decrease as the crude glycerin inclusion levels increased (p ≤ 0.01). Total short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) concentration, individual molar ratio, and the acetate: Propionate ratio in the ruminal fluid of the animals were not influenced (p ≥ 0.07) by the dietary crude glycerin levels. These data indicate that crude glycerin should not be used to replace ground corn in the diets of growing goats that are finished in a feedlot because the substitution reduces the intake and digestibility of several nutrients and decreases performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
14 pages, 486 KiB  
Article
Effects of Zinc Sulfate or Propylene Glycol on Intake, Digestibility, and Forage Selection by Grazing Sheep in a Semi-Arid Region During the Rainy Season
by Hélio Costa, Eloisa Saliba, Diego Galvani, Marco Bomfim, Ângela Maria Lana, Ana Luiza Borges, Aline Landim and Antonio Faciola
Animals 2019, 9(11), 867; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110867 - 25 Oct 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2927
Abstract
The objective of this study was to determine intake, nutrient availability, and animal selection of major forage species in sheep supplemented with zinc sulfate or propylene glycol in Caatinga-native pastures during the rainy season. Twenty-four mixed Santa Inês sheep, all non-castrated males, [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to determine intake, nutrient availability, and animal selection of major forage species in sheep supplemented with zinc sulfate or propylene glycol in Caatinga-native pastures during the rainy season. Twenty-four mixed Santa Inês sheep, all non-castrated males, with initial weight of 19.3 ± 2.52 kg and 4 ± 0.35 months of age, were distributed in a complete randomized design into three treatments: Control (CT)—concentrate supplemented at 0.7% of body weight; CT + 300 mg of Zn day−1; CT + 2.5 mL of propylene glycol/kg LW0.75·day−1. Measurements were done in four periods during the rainy season, with 28 days of interval between each measurement. Differences were observed in the composition of the ruminal extrusa samples from pastures for crude protein (CP) (192 to 131 g kg−1), in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD) (537 to 441 g kg−1), and in vitro organic matter digestibility (IVOMD) (468 to 359 g kg−1) in March and June, respectively. There was no effect for treatments, neither for the treatment x period interaction on organic matter (OM), CP, and fibrous fraction intake (p > 0.05). Organic matter intake (OMI) was, on average 23.9% greater in March compared to June. CP intake decreased monthly (p < 0.05). Fibrous fraction intake was greater in March (p < 0.05), with reductions of 34.8, 33.3, and 39.4% in June, respectively, for neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), and cellulose (CEL) fractions. There was no effect of treatments (p > 0.05) on selection of vegetal species present in the pasture. On the other hand, the proportion between ingested species changed over the experimental period. Greater intakes were found in April compared to May, except for Zizyphus joazeiro intake, which was greater in March (p < 0.05). In conclusion, based on the finding of this study, Zn and propylene glycol (PG) supplementation did not improve sheep nutrient intake when grazing Caatinga-native pasture in the rainy season. Caatinga-native pasture biomass has adequate protein and digestible organic matter levels during early rainy season. Over this period, however, the advanced maturity of the plants and the reduced availability of pasture may result in variations of intake by the animals. In the months of April to June, a reduced energy supply is caused by reduced nutritive values of pastures, which contributes to inefficient protein utilization and reduced feed intake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
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11 pages, 239 KiB  
Article
Effects of Partial Replacement of Conventional with Alternative Feeds on Nutrient Intake, Digestibility, Milk Yield and Composition of Awassi Ewes and Lambs
by Mohammad K. Aloueedat, Belal S. Obeidat and Mofleh S. Awawdeh
Animals 2019, 9(9), 684; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090684 - 15 Sep 2019
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2912
Abstract
Two experiments were done to assess the effects of alternative feeds (AF; dried distillers grains with solubles, carob pods, olive cake, and bread by-product) on lactating performance of ewes and digestibility and nitrogen (N) retention of lambs. Diets were: no AF (CON); 200 [...] Read more.
Two experiments were done to assess the effects of alternative feeds (AF; dried distillers grains with solubles, carob pods, olive cake, and bread by-product) on lactating performance of ewes and digestibility and nitrogen (N) retention of lambs. Diets were: no AF (CON); 200 g/kg AF (AF200); and 400 g/kg AF (AF400). In Experiment 1, 27 Awassi ewes were randomly distributed into three groups, and each was fed one of the diets described before (9 ewes/diet). Evaluation of milk composition and yield was performed at the beginning of the experiment and on days 18, 36, and 54. In Experiment 2, 18 Awassi lambs were allocated to the same diets (6 ewe lambs/diet) during a 21-day trial (14 days housed individually in shaded pens and 7 days in metabolic cages). In Experiment 1, no differences in body weight (BW) of the ewes and their lambs were detected. With the exception of neutral detergent fiber intake, which was lower in the AF-containing diets compared with CON, dry matter, crude protein, and acid detergent fiber intake were not affected by dietary treatment. Milk yield and composition was comparable among diets, and the cost of milk production was lower in AF compared to CON diet. In Experiment 2, nutrient digestibility and N retention were not affected by the diet. Results showed the possibility of including different AF in ewe and lamb diets to mitigate production cost without negatively affecting intake, milk yield, and composition, digestibility, and animal welfare and health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
12 pages, 245 KiB  
Article
Effects of Incremental Urea Supplementation on Rumen Fermentation, Nutrient Digestion, Plasma Metabolites, and Growth Performance in Fattening Lambs
by Yixuan Xu, Zhipeng Li, Luis E. Moraes, Junshi Shen, Zhongtang Yu and Weiyun Zhu
Animals 2019, 9(9), 652; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090652 - 4 Sep 2019
Cited by 37 | Viewed by 3185
Abstract
This study investigated the effects of partially substituting soybean meal (SBM) with incremental amount of urea on rumen fermentation, nutrient digestion, plasma metabolites, and growth performance in fattening lambs. Seventy fattening male lambs were sorted into two blocks according to body weight (BW) [...] Read more.
This study investigated the effects of partially substituting soybean meal (SBM) with incremental amount of urea on rumen fermentation, nutrient digestion, plasma metabolites, and growth performance in fattening lambs. Seventy fattening male lambs were sorted into two blocks according to body weight (BW) and assigned to one of five dietary treatments in a randomized block design: SBM at 170 g/kg dry matter (DM) or reduced SBM (40 g/kg DM) plus 0, 10, 20, or 30 g urea/kg DM. Compared with the lambs receiving the SBM diet, the lambs fed the reduced SBM diet plus urea had higher (p < 0.01) concentrations of ruminal ammonia, and the ruminal concentration of ammonia also increased linearly (p < 0.01) with the increasing urea supplementation. Linear and quadratic effects (p < 0.01) on the crude protein (CP) intake and digestibility were observed with the increasing urea addition to the diet. The concentrations of plasma ammonia and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) increased (linear, p < 0.01; quadratic, p < 0.01) with the increasing urea supplementation. The final BW, DM intake (DMI), average daily gain (ADG), and gain efficiency were similar (p ≥ 0.42) between the SBM group and the urea-supplemented groups. However, the DMI and ADG increased quadratically (p ≤ 0.03) with the increasing urea addition to the diet, with the 10 g urea/kg DM diet resulting in the highest DMI and ADG. The results of this study demonstrated that 10 g urea could substitute 130 g soybean meal per kg feed DM without any adverse effect on growth performance or health in fattening lambs when fed a high concentrate diet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
13 pages, 275 KiB  
Article
Effect of Diet and Type of Pregnancy on Transcriptional Expression of Selected Genes in Sheep Mammary Gland
by María Gallardo, Juan G. Cárcamo, Luis Arias-Darraz and Carlos Alvear
Animals 2019, 9(9), 589; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090589 - 21 Aug 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2291
Abstract
These trials were carried out to determine firstly the effect of diet and type of pregnancy on the transcriptional expression of genes involved in angiogenesis and cell turnover/lactogenesis inside the sheep mammary gland from late gestation to late lactation. Eighteen Ile de France [...] Read more.
These trials were carried out to determine firstly the effect of diet and type of pregnancy on the transcriptional expression of genes involved in angiogenesis and cell turnover/lactogenesis inside the sheep mammary gland from late gestation to late lactation. Eighteen Ile de France sheep, 8 twin- and 10 single-bearing ewes were alloted into two groups according to their diet, either based on ad libitum naturalized pasture or red clover hay plus lupine from day −45 pre-partum until day +60 post-partum. Samples from diets and mammary glands were collected at day −10 pre partum (time 1), day +30 (time 2) and day +60 post-partum (time 3) and analyzed by qRT-PCR. Additionally, samples from longissimus dorsi muscle were taken from lambs twice, at weaning and 45 days later, to determine the effect of the maternal treatment with regard to diet and type of pregnancy, on the mRNA expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism. The data was processed using the lme4 package for R, and SPSS Statistics 23.0 for Windows®. The results showed that the group of twin-bearing ewes fed red clover showed a higher expression of genes involved in angiogenesis before lambing and in cell turnover/lactogenesis during late lactation, explained by a lamb survival mechanism to delay apoptosis as a way to keep a secretory cells population and boosted by the diet quality, assuring a longer milk production potential during late lactation. Regarding lambs, apparently the maternal diet would influence the transcriptional expression of lipogenic enzymes in the longissimus dorsi muscle after weaning, but further studies are necessary to validate these results. In summary, Twin-bearing ewes fed red clover performed best at increasing the expression of genes associated with angiogenesis and cell turnover/lactogenesis in the mammary gland. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
12 pages, 346 KiB  
Article
Lactational Responses of Heat-Stressed Dairy Goats to Dietary L-Carnitine Supplementation
by Nabil Mehaba, Ahmed A. K. Salama, Xavier Such, Elena Albanell and Gerardo Caja
Animals 2019, 9(8), 567; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080567 - 16 Aug 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3426
Abstract
Heat stress causes significant losses in milk production, and nutritional strategies are needed to alleviate its effects. Endogenous carnitine synthesis is also reduced by heat stress (HS). Carnitine plays a central role in fatty acid oxidation and buffers the toxic effects of acyl [...] Read more.
Heat stress causes significant losses in milk production, and nutritional strategies are needed to alleviate its effects. Endogenous carnitine synthesis is also reduced by heat stress (HS). Carnitine plays a central role in fatty acid oxidation and buffers the toxic effects of acyl groups. We hypothesized that carnitine supplementation would make up for any carnitine deficiencies during HS and improve lipid metabolism. The objective was to evaluate rumen-protected L-carnitine (CAR) supplementation in dairy goats under thermo-neutral (TN) or HS conditions. Four Murciano-Granadina dairy goats were used in a four × four Latin square design. Goats were allocated to one of four treatments in a two × two factorial arrangement. Factors were 1) diet: control (CON) or supplementation with CAR (1 g/d); and 2) ambient conditions: TN (15 to 20 °C) or HS (0900 to 2100 h at 35 °C, 2100 to 0900 h at 28 °C). Blood free-, acetyl-, and total-carnitine concentrations increased almost three times by supplementation. Despite this efficient absorption, CAR had no effect on feed intake, milk production or blood metabolites in TN or HS conditions. Heat stress increased rectal temperature and respiratory rate. Additionally, HS goats experienced 26% loss in feed intake, but they tended to eat longer particle sizes. Compared to TN, heat-stressed goats lost more subcutaneous fat (difference in fat thickness measured before and after each period = −0.72 vs. +0.64 mm). In conclusion, supplemented L-carnitine was efficiently absorbed, but it had no lactational effects on performance of goats under thermo-neutral or heat stress conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
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9 pages, 391 KiB  
Communication
Effect of Varying Inclusion Levels of Fossil Shell Flour on Growth Performance, Water Intake, Digestibility and N Retention in Dohne-Merino Wethers
by Olusegun O Ikusika, Conference T. Mpendulo, Titus J Zindove and Anthony I Okoh
Animals 2019, 9(8), 565; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080565 - 16 Aug 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3152
Abstract
This study was carried out to determine the effect of varying levels of Fossil shell flour (FSF) supplementation on growth performance, water intake, digestibility and N retention in Dohne Merino sheep pursuant to establishing the optimum inclusion rate of this supplement in Dohne [...] Read more.
This study was carried out to determine the effect of varying levels of Fossil shell flour (FSF) supplementation on growth performance, water intake, digestibility and N retention in Dohne Merino sheep pursuant to establishing the optimum inclusion rate of this supplement in Dohne Merino diets. Sixteen Dohne-Merino wethers (18 ± 1.5 kg body weight) were used in a complete randomized design with four animals per treatment. Sheep were fed a basal diet without FSF addition (control, T1), or with the addition of FSF (2%, T2), (4%, T3) or (6%, T4) of the diet for 105 days. Treatment 3 (4% FSF) has the highest values of dry matter intake, total weight gain, N retention and for most of the apparent digestibility nutrients (CP, EE and Ash) compared to treatment T1, T2 and T4(p < 0.05). The urinary and fecal N excretion also significantly decreased in the FSF treated diets compared to the control (p < 0.05). Water intake values were highest in control and were significantly (p < 0.05) different from those in treatments 2 and 4, but not to treatment 3. It is concluded that 4% inclusion rate of FSF will give the best improvement on growth performance, diet digestibility and N retention of Dohne-Merino sheep. Also, the addition of FSF in the diets of sheep is a safe natural additive that can help to reduce environmental pollution by reducing fecal and urinary N excretion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
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11 pages, 256 KiB  
Article
Effects of Feeding Rumen-Protected Sunflower Seed and Meal Protein on Feed Intake, Diet Digestibility, Ruminal, Cecal Fermentation, and Growth Performance of Lambs
by Andrés Haro, Javier Gonzalez, Trinidad de Evan, Jesus de la Fuente and María Dolores Carro
Animals 2019, 9(7), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070415 - 4 Jul 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3223
Abstract
The objective of this study was to analyze the efficacy of a treatment (MAH) of sunflower seed (SS) and meal (SM) with a malic acid solution (1 M; 400 mL/kg) and heating (150 °C, 2 h) to protect protein against rumen degradation and [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to analyze the efficacy of a treatment (MAH) of sunflower seed (SS) and meal (SM) with a malic acid solution (1 M; 400 mL/kg) and heating (150 °C, 2 h) to protect protein against rumen degradation and to improve the growth of lambs. Two homogeneous groups of 12 Lacaune lambs each (14.2 ± 0.35 kg body weight) were fed either a concentrate including untreated SS and SM or a concentrate with MAH-treated SS and SM. Lambs were fed concentrate and barley straw ad libitum for 40 days (about 26 kg body weight); feed intake and growth of lambs were recorded; blood samples were taken on days 0, 20, and the slaughter day for analysis of urea-N and amino acid-N; diet digestibility was determined; and ruminal and cecal samples were collected after slaughter. The in vitro incubation of both concentrates with sheep ruminal fluid for 12 h showed that the MAH-treatment tended to reduce NH3-N concentrations and increased propionate production. However, there were no differences (p > 0.05) between groups in any of the tested variables in the in vivo trial. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
14 pages, 1554 KiB  
Article
An Open-Circuit Indirect Calorimetry Head Hood System for Measuring Methane Emission and Energy Metabolism in Small Ruminants
by Carlos Fernández, Julio Gomis-Tena, Alberto Hernández and Javier Saiz
Animals 2019, 9(6), 380; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060380 - 21 Jun 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4808
Abstract
Methane (CH4) is a natural by-product of microbial fermentation in the rumen and is a powerful greenhouse gas. An open-circuit indirect calorimetry system for continuous determination of CH4 and CO2 production and O2 consumption and, thereafter, heat production [...] Read more.
Methane (CH4) is a natural by-product of microbial fermentation in the rumen and is a powerful greenhouse gas. An open-circuit indirect calorimetry system for continuous determination of CH4 and CO2 production and O2 consumption and, thereafter, heat production (HP) calculation for small ruminants was described and validated. The system consisted of a computerized control, data acquisition and recording system for gases and air flux. The average value ± standard deviation for the calibration factors in the system were 1.005 ± 0.0007 (n = 6), 1.013 ± 0.0012 (n = 6) and 0.988 ± 0.0035 (n = 6) for O2, CO2 and CH4, respectively. Calibration factors close to 1 confirmed the absence of leaks in the indirect calorimetry system. In addition, an experimental test with 8 goats at mid lactation was conducted to validate the system. The repeatability for CH4 and heat production measured with the open-circuit indirect calorimetry system was 79% and 61%, respectively. Daily average HP measured by indirect calorimetry (Respiration Quotient method) was close to the average HP determined from Carbon-Nitrogen balance (CN method), accounting for 685 and 667 kJ per kg metabolic body weight, respectively. Therefore, discrepancies averaged 1.92%, a rather satisfactory value considering the substantial amount of technical and analytical work involved. The close agreement found between both methods can be considered as being indicative of the absence of systematic error. Two diets with different forage were tested: 40% was either alfalfa hay (HAY) or alfalfa silage (SIL), and the proportion of concentrate was the same in both groups (60%). The experimental trial shown that HP and CH4 were higher in HAY than SIL diet (differences between treatments of 28 kJ of HP per kg of metabolic body weight and 7.1 L CH4/day were found). The data acquisition and recording device developed improved the accuracy of the indirect calorimetry system by reducing the work involved in managing output data and refining the functionality for measuring gas exchange and energy metabolism in small ruminants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
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Review

Jump to: Research

22 pages, 905 KiB  
Review
Lamb Fattening Under Intensive Pasture-Based Systems: A Review
by Gonzalo Fernandez-Turren, José L. Repetto, José M. Arroyo, Analía Pérez-Ruchel and Cecilia Cajarville
Animals 2020, 10(3), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030382 - 27 Feb 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 5953
Abstract
The benefits of pasture-based systems on the fatty acid composition of sheep meat appear to be achievable despite variability in the quality of the pastures. Lambs fed high levels of temperate pastures have an excess of N-ammonia derived from protein degradation. Furthermore, animal [...] Read more.
The benefits of pasture-based systems on the fatty acid composition of sheep meat appear to be achievable despite variability in the quality of the pastures. Lambs fed high levels of temperate pastures have an excess of N-ammonia derived from protein degradation. Furthermore, animal performance is highly variable depending on the quality of the pasture at the time of grazing, and high animal performance in these systems appears to be linked to the use of high-quality pastures with high availability, and is possibly added to by the inclusion of concentrates that allow increasing energy intake and a better use of the N in the pasture. The combination of high-quality pastures and total mixed ration offers a good alternative to the inclusion of concentrates in the diet, improving the use of N, and avoiding acidosis problems. However, information to determine the effect of a number of nutritional strategies on meat quality, and the minimum level of pasture intake necessary to achieve the benefits of pastoral systems is still lacking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
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20 pages, 418 KiB  
Review
Small Ruminants: Farmers’ Hope in a World Threatened by Water Scarcity
by Oluwakamisi F. Akinmoladun, Voster Muchenje, Fabian N. Fon and Conference T. Mpendulo
Animals 2019, 9(7), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070456 - 18 Jul 2019
Cited by 47 | Viewed by 7795
Abstract
The availability and sustainability of suitable and good quality drinking water is a global concern. Such uncertainties threaten livestock production with an attendant ripple effect on food security. Small ruminants, including sheep and goats, appear to be promising to smallholder farmers in solving [...] Read more.
The availability and sustainability of suitable and good quality drinking water is a global concern. Such uncertainties threaten livestock production with an attendant ripple effect on food security. Small ruminants, including sheep and goats, appear to be promising to smallholder farmers in solving this problem because of their ability to survive in water-limited areas and harsh environment when compared with large ruminants. Their small body size is also seen as an advantage, because less water will be required for proper digestion and feed utilization. Therefore, this review will provide information regarding the adaptive responses of small ruminants on thermoregulation, blood metabolites, immune status, drug pharmacokinetics, reproduction and hormonal indices during the period of water stress. Adaptable and indigenous breeds are known to be more tolerant to water stress than selected breeds. A drop in feed intake and weight reduced respiratory rate and increased concentration of blood metabolites are the general effects and/or observations that are encountered by small ruminants during the period of water stress. The concept of water tolerance either as deprivation and/or restriction of indigenous and adaptable breeds of small ruminants is gaining ground in research studies around the world. However, more research, however, seeking to explore water tolerance capacity of adaptable breeds especially in arid and water limiting areas are still needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
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