• Effect of forage to concentrate ratio and duration of feeding on growth and feed conversion efficiency of male lambs

      Claffey, Noel A; Fahey, Alan G; Gkarane, Vasiliki; Moloney, Aidan P; Monahan, Frank J; Diskin, Michael G (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2018-06-19)
      Rations (dry matter basis) for spring born male lambs consisting of concentrates ad libitum (CON), 50:50 (50% concentrate:50% forage) and forage ad libitum (FORG) were evaluated across feeding periods of 3 durations (36 d, 54 d and 72 d). Lambs on CON diets were offered ad libitum access to concentrate along with 400g of fresh weight silage (daily), while 50:50 diets were offered 0.9 kg and 3.0 kg of concentrate and silage, respectively. Lambs on FORG were offered ad libitum access to 25.5% dry matter silage. These rations were fed to 99 spring born male Texel cross Scottish Blackface lambs which were assigned to a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement. Lambs were slaughtered following completion of their respective treatments. Lambs fed CON diets had greater ADG, FCE, and carcass weight (P < 0.001) and carcasses with greater conformation score (P < 0.001) than lambs fed 50:50 or FORG diets. Duration of feeding had no effect on production variables across all three concentrate inclusion levels. It was concluded that the inclusion of concentrates is needed to adequately finish lambs fed indoors. Feeding lamb’s 50:50 diets resulted in modest responses and may be a viable option for finishing lambs or to maintain growth in lambs when the cost of concentrate feed is high relative to the financial return on the lamb meat.