The objectives of this trial were to evaluate intake and nutrient digestibility, weight gain, and carcass characteristics of grazing lambs supplemented with increasing dietary inclusion of castor bean meal (CBM). Thirty-six Santa Inês-crossed, non-castrated, 120 ± 15 d old lambs (initial BW = 21.8 ± 3.4 kg) were randomly allotted to 1 of 4 dietary treatments. The treatments consisted of 4 levels of soybean meal substitution with lime treated CBM (0, 33, 67, and 100%) on the DM basis. The experimental design was a completely randomized design with 4 treatments and 9 replicates (lambs) for each treatment. Supplementation level was 1.6% BW per animal/d. There was a linear decrease (P<0.01) for total DM intake and a quadratic effect (negative; P = 0.05) for pasture intake as CBM was increased in the supplement. There was a negative quadratic effect of CBM inclusion on NDFap intake, both in g/d (P = 0.01) and as in BW % (P = 0.05). There was a linear effect (negative; P<0.01) on DM and NDFap digestibility coefficients. There were no effects (P≥0.48) of treatments on HCW, dressing percentage, carcass conformation, back fat or carcass length. Despite some negative effects on intake and nutrient digestibility, increasing CBM inclusion in the supplement, up to the substitution of all the soybean meal in the supplement, did not affect weight gain of grazing lambs or carcass characteristics.
carcass characteristics; growth performance; Ricinus communis; sheep; supplementation