Effects of level of broiler litter in diets containing wheat straw on performance of Alpine doelings
G. Animut, R. C. Merkel, G. Abebe, T. Sahlu, and A. L. GoetschSmall Ruminant Research 44:125-134. 2002.
Residues from cereal grain production are important feedstuffs for ruminants throughout the world. They are, however, low in protein and high in fiber, which limit feed intake and digestibility. The nutritive value of cereal crop residues can be improved by various processing methods, such as treatment with alkalis like sodium hydroxide or ammonia. Another means of improving nutritive value of cereal crop residues is supplementation with other feedstuffs, particularly ones high in crude protein. Broiler litter is a low-cost agricultural byproduct available in many areas of the world. The crude protein concentration in broiler litter is usually between 15 and 35% of dry matter, and the available energy concentration in broiler litter is moderate. Thus, objectives of this experiment were to compare feed intake, average daily gain, and gain efficiency of growing Alpine doelings consuming diets based on wheat straw supplemented with different levels of broiler litter to wheat straw supplemented with a conventional protein source or ammoniated through urea treatment. Treatments were feeding of a corn-based concentrate at 1.5% of body weight (dry matter basis) with treated wheat straw and this supplement plus approximately 0.4% body weight of soybean meal or 0.8 or 1.6% body weight of broiler litter with untreated wheat straw. Soybean meal supplementation of wheat straw supported average daily gain as great as urea-treated wheat straw, and with less total feed consumption. Dietary inclusion of broiler litter also resulted in gain similar to that with urea treatment of wheat straw and soybean meal supplementation of untreated straw, but with greater feed input particularly for the highest level of litter. Hence, availabilities and costs of urea for ammoniation and crude protein supplements such as soybean meal and broiler litter, along with practical considerations including labor and facilities, would dictate the choice between urea treatment of low quality forages such as wheat straw and different supplemental sources of crude protein.
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