Evaluation of high-concentrate diets that vary in physically effective neutral detergent fibre for finishing lambs
The objective of this research was to evaluate lamb diets with a high proportion of concentrate and various levels of physically effective neutral detergent fibre (NDF) using tropical ingredients. Four diets were formulated: D1 with 16.5% physically effective NDF (peNDF), D2 with 21.4% peNDF, D3 with 23.3% peNDF, and D4 with 24.6% peNDF. Twenty male Santa Inês lambs at four months old with an average liveweight (LW) of 18.6 ± 3.4 kg were fed for 49 days. There were no differences (P >0.05) among the diets in dry matter (DM) intake. Crude protein (CP) intake, relative to either LW or metabolic live weight (LW0.75) or LW, was greater (P ≤0.05) for D2 and D3 than for D1 or D4. Lower (P ≤0.05) NDF intake, relative to LW0.75 or LW, was lower for D1 than for the other diets. Selection indexes (SIs) were similar (P >0.05) among diets. Animals that consumed D1 had less (P ≤0.05) rumination time per bolus. Meaningful variations were not observed in performance and efficiency of finishing lambs that were related to differences in peNDF among the diets. Santa Inês lambs were able to adapt to diets with low levels of peNDF by increasing rumination time as a consequence of increased fibre consumption and greater particle size selection.