Small ruminant species are utilized for their diverse products including meat, dairy products, and wool. Effective and humane management are essential to maintain high production rates and comfortable animals. To attain this objective, managers needs to have an extensive knowledge of husbandry techniques, understanding of physiological processes, and familiarity with nutritional requirements. We examined the effects of varying feed components on two different ruminal species. In Chapter 1, we conducted a study to evaluate"¯the effects"¯of a low metabolizable energy (LME) and high metabolizable energy (HME) diet on twenty-two Friesian/Lacuane"¯cross ewes and lamb nutritional status."¯Effects on milk production during early lactation stages"¯and the growth of the neonatal lambs were also investigated. We anticipate energy levels will have an effect on milk production and lamb growth. Our results indicate that ewes on the LME diet produced more milk with higher concentrations of fat though this group maintained lower body condition. We concluded that neither the HME nor the LME diet met the needs of the sheep due to the shift in nutrient partitioning towards milk production rather than allocating nutrients to maintaining both body condition and milk production. Limited energy requirements are further evidenced by the decline in back fat (BF) for both the HME and LME groups for the duration of the study. We determined the degradation parameters of grass hay supplemented with soybean meal (SBM) and the effects of SBM on compartment 1 (C1) ammonia and volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentrations in alpacas. Our findings show that the degradation rate was not different for dry matter (DM), but it was for crude protein (CP) (P<0.05). With this data it can be concluded that SBM can be a CP supplement when the diet is insufficient to improve microbial yield. It should be noted that care should be taken to avoid causing a protein-energy imbalance. The results of these two studies indicate shifts in nutrients availability and changes in feeding strategies can affect both the health of the animal and their subsequent offspring.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Plant and Wildlife Sciences



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Alpaca, Friesian sheep, in situ digestibility, soybean meal, VFA