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Effects of Urea Treatment of Straw and Dietary Broiler Litter on Feed Intake and Digestion in Spanish Wethers

G. Abebe1, R. C. Merkel2, G. Animut3, A. L. Goetsch2, and T. Sahlu2

1Awassa College of Agriculture, Debub University, Awassa, Ethiopia, 2E (Kika) de la Garza Institute for Goat Research, Langston University, Langston, OK, 3Alemaya University, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia

Eight Spanish wethers (29.3 ± 1.15 kg) were allocated to simultaneous 4 × 4 Latin squares to test effects on intake and digestion of urea treatment of wheat straw and supplementation with different levels of broiler litter (BL). Wheat straw, untreated (U, 0.41% N) or treated with urea (T, 2.25% N), was consumed ad libitum; supplement treatments (ST) were C: corn-based (1.42% N, 0.64% BW); S: C + 0.25% BW soybean meal (3.10% N, 0.89% BW); L: C + 0.5% BW BL (2.97% N, 1.14% BW); and H: C + 1.0% BW BL (3.06% N, 1.64% BW). Chromic oxide was included in supplements to estimate apparent digestibilities. Straw type and ST did not interact in OM and N intakes and digestibilities. Straw OM intake was similar between U and T; total OM intake was greatest among ST (P < 0.05) for H and lowest (P < 0.05) for C (476, 566, 649, and 739 g/d for C, S, L, and H, respectively). Digestibility of OM was not influenced by straw type, but was lower (P < 0.10) for L and H than for C and S (67.9, 68.3, 61.9, and 60.7% for C, S, L and H, respectively; SE = 2.5). Digestible OM intake (DOMI) was greater (P < 0.05) for T than for U (436 vs 327 g/d); among ST DOMI was lowest (P < 0.05) for C and greater (P < 0.05) for H vs S (314, 377, 396, and 440 g/d for C, S, L, and H, respectively; SE = 19.6). Intake of straw N was greater (P < 0.05) in goats consuming T than U (9.7 vs 1.0 g/d) and greatest among ST for H (8.0, 13.6, 15.8, and 19.6 g/d for C, S, L, and H, respectively). Apparent N digestibility was not affected by straw type and was greatest among supplement treatments (P < 0.05) for S (51.5, 67.8, 51.4, and 46.4%, for C, S, L, and H, respectively). In conclusion, improvements in DOMI by supplementing a basal wheat straw diet with S or BL were not influenced by urea treatment. The increase in DOMI with a low level of BL (i.e., 0.5% BW) was comparable to that with S, and greater change occurred with 1.0% BW BL.


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