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Effects of prepartum doe dietary protein and energy intake on performance and blood characteristics of precolostral Alpine kids

M. Smuts, and T. Sahlu

Sheep and Goat Research Journal 11:35-41. 1995.

The objectives of this experiment were to determine the effect of maternal nutrition on neonate performance and to determine whether prepartum maternal nutrition influences precolostral neonatal plasma characteristics. In the first of two experiments, 44 primiparous Alpine does wereoffered either 8.8, 11.0, or 14.3% crude protein (CP) on a dry matter (DM) basis in an isocaloric (2.06 Mcal metabolizable energy (ME) per kilogram DM) diet. In the second experiment, 63 multiparous Alpine does were offered either 8.4, 11.4, or 14.4% CP and 1.8, 2.2, or 2.6 Mcal ME per kilogram DM ad libitum starting in week 12 of gestation. Jugular blood samples, collected from kids within the first 15 minutes after birth, were analyzed for various metabolites. In experiment 1, total protein (P < 0.05), and in both experiments plasma urea nitrogen (N; P < 0.0001), were higher in neonates born to does fed diets with 14.3% protein. Free fatty acids (FFA), packed cell volume and ammonia N in experiment 1, and glucose, total protein, FFA, and creatinine in experiment 2, were unaffected by maternal nutrition. In the first experiment, glucose was depressed at intermediary CP levels, but neonatal birth weight (BW) did not differ between treatments, whereas neonatal BW was increased (P < 0.05) at intermediary CP and energy levels in the second experiment. In both experiments, FFA concentrations were two to four times higher in neonatal than maternal blood. It is speculated that the high FFA concentrations encountered may be due to very rapid (less than 15 minutes after birth) mobilization of adipose tissues by the neonate or because the goat may contain higher concentrations of lipoprotein lipase (which facilitates the hydrolysis of maternal triglycerides to FFA and transfer of these FFA to the fetus) in the placental tissues than other species. This factor needs further investigation. Calculations indicate that the effect of nutrition on performance characteristics should be assessed preferably using individual neonate BW or its metabolic unit instead of litter weight or its metabolic unit. It is concluded that goat maternal dietary CP variations affect neonatal plasma characteristics to a greater extent than maternal dietary energy and that current CP recommendations for goats are adequate for neonatal survivability.


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