This study was conducted at the Animal Science Department of Federal University of Santa Maria, RS, from August to December 2003. The aim was to evaluate the food intake and performance of male lambs, non-castrated, crossbreed Ile de France x Texel, submitted to four levels of NDF: 25%, 31%, 37% and 43%. The roughage used was a hybrid sorghum silage (AG 2005 E) and the concentrate was composed of ground corn, soybean meal, common salt, limestone and dicalcium phosphate. The four diets were isoproteic with 17% of crude protein. Twenty lambs, with an average of 42 days old were used in the experiment and slaughtered when they reach 30kg live weight. The experimental design was completely ramdomized, with four treatments and five replications. The intake of nutrients, daily average weigh gain (DWG) feed conversion (FC) and the number of days to the reachr 30kg of live weight were evaluated. The addition of increasing levels of NDF to the diet caused a linear decrease in the intake of dry matter (DMI), organic matter (OMI), crude protein (CPI), ethereal extract (EEI), total carbohydrates (TCHOI) and non-structural carbohydrates (NSCI). On the other hand, the consumption of neutral detergent fiber (NDFI) and acid detergent fiber (ADFI) increased linearly with the increase of NDF in the diets. The increase of the fiber level in the diet resulted in linear reduction in DWG and in FC, which caused a linear increase in the amount of days to lambs reach the slaughter weight.
feeding efficiency; feedlot; fiber; sheep