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The Effect of Growth Rate on Fat Partitioning in Crossbred Ewe Lambs

  • B.W. Butler-Hogg (a1) and I.D. Johnsson (a2)


The generally accepted view is that, in sheep and cattle, plane of nutrition (as indicated by growth rate) can influence body composition; the higher the rate of gain the greater the fatness at a particular live or carcass weight. However, exceptions to this view can be found which demonstrate that the effective protein: energy ratio of the diet can exert a considerable influence on the composition of live weight gain. Unfortunately most studies which have considered the effects of growth rate on composition (either directly or as a consequence of some treatment which resulted in different growth rates) have described their animals in terms of chemically determined protein, fat, ash and water. To assess the potential economic impact of different growth rates on body composition and the distribution of fat throughout the body requires dissection data, describing the animal in terms of lean, bone and individual fat depots. In this experiment the dissected composition of 44 Hampshire Down x Mule ewe lambs was determined in animals which had followed planned growth paths involving periods of high (H) and low (L) growth.



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