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Ground redberry juniper and urea in supplements fed to Rambouillet ewe lambs on growth, blood serum, and fecal N
Effects of using ground redberry juniper and urea in dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS)-based supplements fed to Rambouillet ewe lambs (n = 48; 42 kg ± 3.8) on growth, blood serum, and feces were evaluated. In a randomized design study (40 d), individually-penned lambs were fed a basal diet of ground sorghum-sudangrass hay (ad libitum) and of 1 of 8 supplements (fed separately from the hay; 6 lambs/treatment; 496 g/d; DM basis) in a 4 × 2 factorial arrangement with 4 concentrations of ground juniper (15, 30, 45, or 60% of DM) and 2 levels of urea (1 or 3% of DM); dried distillers grains with solubles was replaced as percentage of juniper increased. Lamb growth was evaluated on d 0, 5, 12, 19, 26, 33, and 40. Blood serum evaluated on d 6 to 8, 20 to 22, and 34; feces collected on d 34. A repeated measures analysis showed factorial by day interactions (P < 0.001) for hay DMI, total daily DMI, BW, ADG, and G:F, with only a few differences within day. Overall, hay and total DMI were similar among lambs (P > 0.44) but lambs fed 60% juniper-based supplements had the least amount of supplement intake (P < 0.01). Overall, lambs fed 15% juniper-based supplements had the greatest (P < 0.04) ADG and G:F vs. the other lambs. Percentage of urea in the supplement did not affect (P > 0.23) overall intake of hay or supplement, ADG, or G:F. However, lambs fed 15% juniper-based supplement tended to have greater (P = 0.07) final BW than lambs fed 60%, and urea used at 1% of supplement vs. 3% resulted in reduced final BW (P = 0.03). Fecal DM was similar (P > 0.15) among lambs, but fecal N was greater (P< 0.02) for lambs fed the 15% and 45% juniper-based supplements vs. 60% juniper-based supplement. In conclusion, when ewe lambs were fed a low-quality basal hay diet, growth performance declined when 60% juniper or 3% urea was used in supplements. This decline can be attributed to differences in supplement concentrate:forage ratio, fiber, degradable N, and plant secondary compounds, all of which can affect intake and growth. However, an economic analysis is needed to determine maximum inclusion rate of juniper and urea in rangeland supplements, especially when trying to only meet the maintenance requirement of the animal.
Keywords: juniper, lambs, supplement