Source and Level of Supplemental Protein for Growing Lambs

Source: N. Dabiri and M. L. Thonney

Two 3 × 2 factorial growth trials and a companion metabolism trial with 13, 15, or 17% dietary CP (DM basis), with or without 3% of the DM replaced with slowly degraded menhaden fish meal, were conducted to determine if level of dietary protein influences whether slowly degraded protein improves lamb growth and protein use. The growth trials included 32 and 34 pens of two weanling lambs initially weighing 23 to 26 kg and fed for 42 d. The metabolism trial included 12 additional lambs fed in metabolism cages with a 2-wk adjustment period, a 1-wk preliminary period, and a 7-d collection period. Plasma ureaN(PUN) was measured in all lambs at the conclusion of the second growth trial and at the end of the metabolism trial. There was a protein level × protein source interaction (P = 0.05) for PUN of the 12 lambs in the metabolism trial but not for the 68 lambs in the second growth trial. Replacement ofpart of the soybean meal protein with protein from fish meal did not affect ADG or G:F at any protein level, but it lowered (P = 0.08) PUN in the second growth trial. Plasma urea N values were higher (P = 0.002) in lambs fed diets with 15 or 17% CP; however, ADG (P = 0.037 in Exp. 1 and P = 0.055 in Exp. 2), and G:F (P = 0.094 in Exp. 1 and P = 0.003 in Exp. 2) were lower for lambs fed the diets with 13% CP. There was little difference in ADG or G:F between lambs fed the diets with 15 or 17% CP, suggesting that a CP level of 15% with supplemental protein from soybean meal would be optimal for 25- to 40-kg growing Finnsheep × Dorset lambs.