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Archivos de Zootecnia

On-line version ISSN 1885-4494Print version ISSN 0004-0592


RESENDIZ, C.V. et al. Fattening Pelibuey lambs fed with different alfalfa levels in the diet. Arch. zootec. [online]. 2013, vol.62, n.239, pp.457-467. ISSN 1885-4494.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of feeding alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) to lambs on animal performance, during a period of 11 weeks. Thirty-six, 5 months old, Pelibuey male lambs were used indoors, with initial live weight of 22.0 kg. They were distributed homogeneously into four groups of three each, with three replicates per group, and then randomly assigned to each of the following treatments: diet with 0, 20, 30 and 40 % (dry basis) of alfalfa. Dry matter intake (DMI), daily gain weight (DGW), feeding conversion (FC) and efficiency (FE), hot and cold carcass yield, biological hot and cold carcass yield, and carcass pH at slauthering and 24h post mortem, and digestibility in situ of the diet, were evaluated. A completely randomized design using Proc GLM was used; mean comparison was done using the Tukey test. There were not significant differences (p>0.05) between treatments on animal performance, except on dry matter intake, which increased (p<0.05) from 1.2 to 1.4 kg DM per animal when increasing alfalfa level from 20 to 40 %, even though diets including alfalfa had less digestibility compared to the control one. DGW, FC and FE, averaged 271 g animal-1 day-1, 4.74 and 0.212, respectively. The average for hot and cold carcass yield, were 54.4 % and 53.0 %, respectively. Including alfalfa in the lamb diet, offers no benefits on animal performance; however, including up to 40 % of alfalfa, could be a viable feeding strategy, and from the economical point of view could be attractive to the farmer, besides, it increases dry matter intake.

Keywords : Carcass yield; Live-weight gain.

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