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Effects of dietary protein concentration on postweaning growth of Boer crossbred and Spanish goat wethers

I. Prieto, A. L. Goetsch, V. Banskalieva, M. Cameron, R. Puchala, T. Sahlu, L. J. Dawson, and S. W. Coleman

Journal of Animal Science. 78:2275-2281. 2000.

Development of the Boer goat in South Africa focused on selection for attributes such as size, muscling, and growth rate. Greater body weight and growth rate for Boers and Boer crossbreds than for other goat breeds and types have been documented at a number of locations. However, though Boer goats can grow more rapidly than other types of goats, growth rates are less than for sheep, implying that nutrient requirements may not be markedly different from other goats. Furthermore, ad libitum feed intake by goats relative to BW is frequently greater than for cattle and sheep. Thus, the objective of this experiment was to estimate the protein requirement by determining effects of protein concentration in high concentrate diets on growth of weaned, confined Boer crossbred and Spanish wethers. Boer (3/4) × Spanish (1/4) and Spanish goat wethers, 4 to 4.5 mo of age and 17.6 and 19.4 kg initial BW, respectively, were fed 70% concentrate diets provided ad libitum for 30 wk in confinement. The concentration of crude protein in consumed dry mater was 9.3, 13.8, 17.1, and 22.1% (P1, P2, P3, and P4, respectively); supplemental protein was from soybean meal for P1 and P2 and from soybean meal plus a blend of blood, fish, and feather meals for P3 and P4. Results of this experiment indicate a similar dietary protein requirement relative to dry matter intake for growing Boer × Spanish and Spanish wethers consuming high concentrate diets in confinement. Diets with a protein concentration of 14% or greater may support greater live weight gain than a diet with 9% protein. A ruminally degraded protein concentration of 11.5% of total digestible nutrients seems adequate for unimpaired microbial digestion and protein synthesis. However, further research on protein requirements of growing meat goats is warranted, such as with dietary protein concentrations between 9 and 14% and other diet natures and production settings.


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