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South African Journal of Animal Science

versão On-line ISSN 2221-4062
versão impressa ISSN 0375-1589

Resumo

VAN DER MERWE, D.A.; BRAND, T.S.; THERON, P.G.  e  HOFFMAN, L.C.. Predicting feed intake from weaning to maturity in South African sheep reared on high-energy grain-based diets. S. Afr. j. anim. sci. [online]. 2022, vol.52, n.3, pp.291-303. ISSN 2221-4062.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/sajas.v52i3.5.

Feed intake models seldom take breed differences into account. This study investigated various approaches to describing and predicting the feed intake of certain breeds (Dohne Merino, Dormer, Dorper, Meatmaster, Merino, South African Mutton Merino (SAMM) and White Dorper). On weaning at 90 days old, four ram and four ewe lambs from each breed were housed under feedlot conditions and reared on a high-energy concentrate-based diet until they reached maturity at about 12 months. Bodyweight and feed intake were recorded weekly. Daily dry matter intake was modelled with bodyweight for each breed using a quadratic function. Feed intake increased to a peak and then tended to decrease as lambs neared maturity. Dormer lambs had the highest peak intake (2202.02 g/day) and Merinos the lowest (1558.8 g/day). However, this model accounted for less than 50% of the variation in the groups. Linear regressions of percentage intake of bodyweight (R2 = 0.732) and cumulative feed intake with bodyweight (R = 0.941) were deemed more reliable in predicting voluntary feed intake. The change in feed conversion ratio was modelled with an exponential relationship. At 75 kg live weight, Dormer rams had the highest feed conversion ratio (20.44) and SAMM rams the lowest (6.48). Generally, lambs with larger frame sizes (Dormer, Dorper and SAMM) presented higher feed intakes at a given bodyweight than smaller-framed breeds. Dorper rams and SAMM lambs proved to have better lifetime feed efficiency than the earlier maturing breeds.

Palavras-chave : breeds; dry matter intake; feed efficiency; percentage intake.

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