Effect of dietary protein on intake, nutrients utilization, nitrogen balance, blood metabolites, growth and puberty in growing Bhadawari buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) heifers
Singh, S.; Kushwaha, B.P.; Maity, S.B.; Singh, K.K.; Das, N.
Tropical Animal Health and Production 47(1): 213-220
Fifteen Bhadawari buffalo heifers of 207 ± 9.78 kg mean body weight were randomly distributed into three dietary groups to evaluate the effect of protein level on nutrient utilization, nitrogen (N) balance, growth rate, blood metabolites, and puberty. All animals were offered wheat straw-berseem diets supplemented with concentrate mixtures of similar energy (2.7 Mcal/kg) and different protein levels (14.3-22%). Animals of standard-protein group (SPG) were offered protein and energy as per requirement, while animals of low-protein group (LPG) and high-protein group (HPG) were fed 20% less and 20% more protein, respectively, than SPG. Feed dry matter (DM) and metabolizable energy (ME) intake (% body wt. and g/kg w(0.75)) were similar for all three diets; however, the crude protein (CP) and digestible crude protein (DCP) intake on percent body weight and per kilogram metabolic weight was higher (P < 0.05) in HPG than in SPG or LPG. Digestibility of CP, cellulose, and hemicellulose was higher (P < 0.05) in HPG versus LPG. Fecal N excretion was similar, while urinary N excretion was highest (P < 0.05) in HPG (74.83 g/day) compared with SPG (50.03 g/day) and LPG (47.88 g/day), which resulted in lower N retention in HPG than in the other dietary groups. Level of dietary N had no effect on blood metabolites viz. glucose, urea, and N. Digestible energy (DE) and ME contents of diets were identical, while DCP contents were higher (P < 0.05) in HPG than in LPG. Feed and nutrient (CP and ME) conversion efficiency to produce a unit kilogram weight gain was identical among the dietary groups. Dietary protein level had no effect on the heifer's weight and age at puberty. The mean growth rate of heifers at 240 days was higher (P > 0.05) in SPG (330.8 g/day) than in LPG (296.7 g/day), while the animals gained more weight in January to March months and the lowest weight in May to July months. Protein level had no effect on conception rate of heifers. Results revealed that 20% higher or less protein than the ICAR requirement had no significant (P > 0.05) on feed intake, nutrient conversion efficiency for weight gain, heifer growth, and puberty; however, 20% more protein increased urinary N loss.