Metabolisable energy intake and changes in body weight and body condition of Pelibuey ewes fed three levels of roughage diets under tropical conditions

Alfonso Juventino Chay-Canul, Armín Javier Ayala-Burgos, Juan Carlos Kú-Vera, Juan Gabriel Magaña-Monforte, Calvin L. Ferrell


The aim was to evaluate the effect of metabolisable energy intake (MEI) on changes in BW and BCS of non pregnant, non lactating Pelibuey ewes. The experiment had two phases: first, 24, three-yr-old ewes were kept in pens (six ewes per pen) and fed for 60 days for to homogenize BW and BCS. Thereafter ewes with BW 37.2 ± 4.1 kg, BCS of 2.5±0.12, were randomly divided in groups of six animals, one group was slaughtered for baseline measurements; the remaining were assigned to a completely randomized experimental design and individually penned in metabolic crates, and fed at low (L), medium (M) and high (H) MEI for 65 days. Feeding was based on Taiwan grass (Pennisetum purpureum) given a rate of 44 g DM/kgBW0.75/day, and a supplement (140 g CP/kgDM and 11.5 MJ ME/kgDM) given at 0, 16 and 32 g DM/kgBW0.75/day for L, M and H respectively. After 65 days, daily BW changes were: -107, -21 and 30 g/day for L, M and H respectively. Changes in BCS were: -0.8, 0.0 and 0.5 points for L, M and H respectively. MEI was different (P<0.05) among L, M and H, but M and H levels did not differ (P>0.05), MEI were 0.247, 0.472 and 0.532 MJ/kgBW0.75/day for L, M and H respectively. A unit of change in BCS corresponded to 5.8 kg BW in adult Pelibuey ewes. It was required 60 MJ of ME above maintenance to gain a kg of BW, indicating that a unit change in BCS may require 345 MJ of ME. Our data suggest that MEm may range from 0.481 to 0.529 MJ/kgBW0.75/day, values higher than previously reported.


Pelibuey ewes; metabolisable energy; body weight change; body condition score.

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