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Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia

Print version ISSN 1516-3598On-line version ISSN 1806-9290


ZEOULA, Lúcia Maria et al. Digestibility and nitrogen balance of sheep diets containing different levels of ruminal degradable protein and ground corn. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2006, vol.35, n.5, pp.2179-2186. ISSN 1516-3598.

Four castrated sheep averaging 38.5 kg of body weight were randomly assigned to a 4 x 4 Latin square to evaluate the apparent digestibility of nutrients and nitrogen balance (NB) on diets containing different levels of rumen degradable protein (RDP): 46, 50, 54, and 58% and ground corn. The four experimental diets were composed by 75% of forage (oat hay) and 25% of concentrate containing ground corn (GC), soybean meal (SM), cottonseed meal (CM), fish meal (FM), urea, and mineral salt. No significant differences were observed on the intakes of DM, OM, CP, starch, NDF, and ADF by increasing the dietary RDP levels. Nitrogen intake (NI), urinary N excretion, fecal N excretion, and NB expressed as % NI averaged, respectively, 31.68 g/d, 6.34 g/d, 11.31 g/d, and 47.27% and did not differ across diets. Similarly, apparent total tract digestibilities of DM, OM CP, NDF, and ADF averaged, respectively, 71.90, 73.00, 79.70, 61.10, and 52.00% and did not differ when the RDP level was increased in the diet. It can be concluded that both digestibility of nutrients and NB were not affected by different dietary RDP levels under the conditions of this trial.

Keywords : corn; nitrogen retention; total collection; rumen degradable protein.

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