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Effects of diet quality and age of meat goat wethers on early subsequent growth while grazing wheat forage

A. L. Goetsch, G. Detweiler, T. Sahlu, R. Puchala, R. C. Merkel, and S. Soto-Navarro

E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research, Langston University, Langston, OK

Thirty-six meat goat wethers (3/4 Spanish and 1/4 Boer), born in the previous Spring (initial age and BW of 8.5 mo and 17 ± 0.6 kg) or Fall (initial age of 2.5 mo and 13 ± 0.8 kg), were used to determine effects of ad libitum consumption of different quality diets and age on early subsequent growth while grazing wheat forage. The experiment was 14 wk long, with 9 wk in the winter consuming prairie hay (5% CP and 71% NDF) supplemented with 0.125% BW of soybean meal (PH), alfalfa pellets (AP), or a 70% concentrate diet (CD), and 5 wk in the spring grazing wheat forage. Average daily gain in Period 1 (28, 54, and 81 g/d; SE = 14.0) and Period 2 (123, 137, and 100 g/d for PH, AP, and CD, respectively; SE = 13.8) was similar among dietary treatments and greater for Spring vs. Fall wethers (Period 1: 72 vs 37 g/d, P < 0.05; Period 2: 131 vs 108 g/d, P < 0.09). There was not a discernible pattern of change in ADG as week of grazing wheat forage advanced (wk 1: 65 and 22 g/d; wk 2: 236 and 188 g/d; wk 3: 65 and 105 g/d; wk 4: 49 and 23 g/d; wk 5: 249 and 215 g/d for Spring and Fall, respectively). Body composition (estimated from shrunk BW and urea space) on d 42 and 98 and composition of gain were similar among dietary treatments. Differences between ages (P < 0.05) in protein mass on d 42 (2.92 and 2.65 kg for Spring and Fall, respectively) and 98 (3.72 and 3.36 kg for Spring and Fall, respectively) were similar in magnitude, although that in fat mass on d 98 (4.60 and 3.31 kg) was considerably greater than on d 42 (2.39 and 1.96 kg for Spring and Fall, respectively). In accordance, protein accretion from d 42 to 98 was similar between ages (14.3 and 12.6 g/d for Spring and Fall, respectively; SE = 0.86), whereas rate of fat accretion was greater (P < 0.05) for Spring vs Fall wethers (39.6 vs 24.1 g/d). In conclusion, the nature of the diet consumed ad libitum did not impact subsequent growth by 3/4 Spanish wethers, regardless of age, when grazing wheat forage.


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