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Effects of frequency of supplementation with soybean meal and litter size on performance of Angora does consuming low quality forage in late gestation and early lactation

R. Joemat, A. L. Goetsch, U. Wuliji, G. W. Horn, T. Sahlu, R. Puchala, R. C. Merkel, and S. Soto-Navarro

Journal of Animal and Feed sciences 12:707-722. 2003.

Ruminants often consume forages low in digestibility and protein, particularly in developing countries during the dry season. To achieve desirable levels of animal performance, feedstuffs high in crude protein (CP) can be supplemented. However, in addition to the high cost of feedstuffs rich in CP, considerable labor is required with daily supplementation. Therefore, infrequent supplementation is of interest to livestock producers if performance is not markedly adversely affected. However, there have been few studies concerning effects with fiber-producing ruminants, in particular Angora goats, particularly with high nutritional requirements in late gestation and lactation. Likewise, litter size also impacts nutrient needs. Therefore, objectives of this experiment were to determine effects of frequency of supplementation with soyabean meal on performance of Angora does consuming low quality forage in late gestation and early lactation with single- or twin-kid litters. Angora does consuming low quality forage, with single- or twin-kid litters, were used in a 120-day experiment (15 8-day periods). Prairie hay (5.1% crude protein and 70% neutral detergent fiber) was consumed ad libitum without soybean meal (SBM), or SBM was offered at an average daily rate of 0.125% body weight (BW) every 1, 4 or 8 days (1X, 4X and 8X, respectively). Ground corn was supplemented after kidding at 0.5-1.0% BW, and kidding was in periods 7-11, with approximately one-half of the does kidding before day 58. Results of this experiment indicated that Angora does in late gestation and early lactation consuming low quality forage can be supplemented with protein from SBM as infrequently as once every 4 days without adversely affecting BW. Less frequent supplementation, such as once every 8 days, may be as effective as supplementation daily or every 4 days with moderate nutrient requirements of late gestation. However, in early lactation with elevated nutritional demands, supplementation once every 8 days can increase BW loss compared with more frequent supplementation, although nutrient needs as impacted by litter size in this study did not influence BW response to supplementation frequency. Skin and fiber characteristics were not influenced by infrequent supplementation, except for an improvement in fiber growth rate on day 58-120 with daily supplementation compared with no supplementation or supplementation every 4 days. This finding, along with lower BW for 8X vs 1X and 4X, suggest a need for frequent supplementation, such as daily, to maintain BW and stimulate fiber production when nutrient demands of Angoras are high during lactation. Does with 2- vs 1-kid litters mobilized tissue energy reserves to provide nutrients for increased needs for gestation and lactation rather than to lessen mohair fiber growth.


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