Growth performance, feed digestibility, body composition, and feeding behavior of high- and low-residual feed intake fat-tailed lambs under moderate feed restriction

Rajaei Sharifabadi, H.; Naserian, A.A.; Valizadeh, R.; Nassiry, M.R.; Bottje, W.G.; Redden, R.R.

Journal of Animal Science 94(8): 3382-3388


ISSN/ISBN: 1525-3163
PMID: 27695804
DOI: 10.2527/jas.2015-0196
Accession: 057957001

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Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of moderate feed restriction on productivity of lambs classified on the basis of phenotypic expression of residual feed intake (RFI). In Exp. 1, 58 fat-tailed Kurdi ram lambs (32.1 ± 4.2 kg BW) were individually fed, ad libitum, a pelleted diet (35% alfalfa hay and 65% concentrate). Feed intake and ADG were determined for a 6-wk period and 3 feed efficiency measures including RFI, G:F, and partial efficiency of maintenance (PEM) were calculated. The lambs were sorted based on RFI and the 16 highest RFI (RFI ≥ mean + 0.5 SD) and 16 lowest RFI (RFI ≤ mean - 0.5 SD) lambs were subjected to body composition (BC) and DM digestibility (DMD) analysis. Feeding behavior traits (FB) were also evaluated for 24 h using a regular 5-min interval observation method. The high- and low-RFI lambs (14 lambs/RFI group) so classified in Exp. 1 were used in Exp. 2. Half of the lambs in each RFI group were randomly selected to be fed ad libitum or 85% of ad libitum (restricted feeding), which resulted in 4 experimental groups: 1) ad libitum high-RFI, 2) feed restricted high-RFI, 3) ad libitum low-RFI, and 4) feed restricted low-RFI. The lambs were fed the same diet as Exp. 1, and growth efficiency during a 6-wk test period as well as BC, DMD, and FB were also determined in Exp. 2. In Exp. 1, the low-RFI lambs consumed 14% ( < 0.01) less feed than high-RFI lambs. Differences were also observed between high- and low-RFI groups for G:F ( = 0.01), RFI ( < 0.01), and PEM ( < 0.01) in Exp. 1, but no differences were detected between high- and low-RFI lambs for ADG ( = 0.79), DMD ( = 0.42), BC ( > 0.72), and FB ( > 0.24). In Exp.2, the restriction feeding regime negatively affected ADG ( < 0.01) and G:F ( = 0.02) in low-RFI lambs, whereas G:F ( = 0.02) and PEM ( < 0.01) were improved in high-RFI lambs under the feed restriction condition. No effects of feed restriction on DMD ( = 0.87) and BC ( > 0.05) were observed. The lambs fed at the restricted level of intake presented a greater time ( < 0.01) and rate ( = 0.01) of eating than those fed ad libitum. Although bunk visits and feeding events were decreased ( < 0.01) with feed restriction, no interaction ( > 0.05) was detected between RFI phenotype and feeding regime for FB. In summary, feeding high-RFI lambs at 85% of ad libitum level improved G:F with no effect on ADG, whereas growth performance was reduced by feeding low-RFI lambs at 85% of ad libitum. However, these changes in feed efficiency were not related to DMD, BC, or FB.