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Effects of ruminally protected betaine and choline on performance of lactating Alpine goats

T. Shenkoru1, F. N. Owens2, R. Puchala1, A. L. Goetsch1, and T. Sahlu1

1E (Kika) de la Garza Institute for Goat Research, Langston University, Langston, OK
2Animal Science Department, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

Twenty-four Alpine does and 24 doelings were used to evaluate effects of dietary supplementing a 50% concentrate diet with protein or ruminally protected betaine or choline on milk yield and composition. Diets containing 15% CP (DM basis) were supplemented with 3% ruminally protected betaine (B), 3% ruminally protected choline (C), no added methyl donors (N), or feedstuffs high in ruminally undegradable protein to increase CP to 18% (H). Six animals, 3 doelings and 3 does, were allocated to each treatment and fed for ad libitum consumption. Doelings gained more weight (P < 0.05; 80 vs 15 g/d) but produced less milk (P < 0.05; 2.11 vs 3.24 kg/d) than does. Treatments had no effect on body weight gain by does or doelings (P > 0.10). Does fed H and B diets had higher DM intake than does fed N or C (P < 0.05; 2.13, 2.51, 2.24, and 2.49 kg/d); whereas, doelings consumed greater amounts of B and C (P < 0.05; 2.15, 2.68, 2.46, and 1.98 kg/d for N, B, C, and H, respectively). Treatments had no effect on milk production by doelings (2.08, 2.01, 2.18, and 2.15 kg/d) but B decreased milk production by does (P < 0.05; 3.45, 2.68, 3.27, and 3.54 kg/d for N, B, C, and H, respectively). Betaine decreased milk protein yield (P < 0.05; 82.7, 68.6, 80.1, and 83.8 g/d) and supplements decreased milk fat yield (P < 0.05; 83.5, 70.4, 71.8, and 72.1 g/d). Treatments had no effect on plasma NEFA or insulin in does, although B and C increased (P < 0.05) plasma NEFA and insulin in doelings. In summary, the lack of effect of additional protein in the diet indicates that protein status with 15% dietary CP was adequate. Betaine and choline altered plasma concentrations of some blood metabolites but did not improve milk production or body weight gain.


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