Post-Exposure Performance of Lambs Exposed to Whole Barley Early in Life
Sheep Research Journal
Hatfield, P. G.; Ortega-Reyes, L.; Provenza, Frederick D.; Walker, J. W.; and Glimp, H. A., "Post-Exposure Performance of Lambs Exposed to Whole Barley Early in Life" (1992). Behavioral Education for Human, Animal, Vegetation, and Ecosystem Management (BEHAVE). Paper 140.
Thirty-four cross-bred lambs were used to investigate the effects of early exposure to whole barley on subsequent diet preference and animal performance. Seventeen lambs (mean age 7 weeks) were individually exposed to 50 g x lamb-1 x d-1 whole barley for 8 days at 15 minutes per day in 0.74 m2 pens. Lambs were exposed to the barley with their mothers; however, ewes and lambs were separated by a wire panel to allow recording of individual lamb intake. Control lambs (n=17) were treated in the same manner as the exposed lambs except they were offered alfalfa pellets during the 15 minutes per day exposure period. Alfalfa pellets were the basal diet for all animals. After weaning in September when mean lamb age was 146 days, lambs were fitted with fecal collection bags, confined in individual pens, and allowed ad libitum consumption of a whole barley finishing ration. The initial ration was 40% whole barley and 60% alfalfa pellets. Quantity of barley in the ration was increased every third day by 10% until the quantity of barley in the ration was 80%. Early exposure to whole barley did not affect live weight gains (P>0.24). Early exposure had no effect (P>0.42) on intake or dry matter digestibility during the confinement feeding study. Refused feed of lambs exposed to whole barley early in life had a higher (P=0.03) CP values than control lambs, indicating the presence of more alfalfa than barley in the refusal sample. The amount of barley consumed by exposed treatment lambs during exposure did not affect (P>0.16) variables measured in the feeding trial. Based on the methods used to expose lambs to whole barley, only minimal advantage for lambs exposed early was detected in this study.
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