Three experiments were carried out to study the effect of replacing milk carbohydrates and part of the milk fat in milk with partially hydrolysed starch (Protamyl 110). Male and female cross-bred lambs (Suffolk × (Finnish Landrace × Dorset Horn)) were used in these experiments. They were weaned from their dams after having received colostrum at 1–2 days of age. The experimental diets were given at room temperature, in eight aliquots, at 3-h intervals through an automated feeding unit. The level of feeding was 1·05 MJ/kg0·75 live weight/day.
In the first experiment, the diets were formulated to contain 28, 17 and 55% of their gross energy as protein, carbohydrate and fat respectively. Diet 1 contained glucose, while diets 2, 3 and 4 had 33, 67 and 100% of glucose respectively replaced by Protamyl. There were no significant differences in growth rate and food utilization between levels of starch inclusion.
In Expt 2, the maximum Protamyl that could be incorporated in lamb milk replacers was examined. Four experimental diets were prepared so that 17 and 55; 25 and 47; 33 and 39; and 41 and 31% of their gross energy was supplied by Protamyl or butter fat respectively. It was found that up to 33% of the gross energy of the diet (41% of the dry matter) could be replaced with Protamyl without adverse effects on lamb performance. When the level of inclusions was increased to 41% of the gross energy (49% of the dry matter), lamb performance was depressed, particularly during the first 15 days of the experiment.
In Expt 3, a direct comparison was made between Protamyl and lactose. The two diets used were similar in composition to diets 1 and 4 in Expt 1, except that lactose was used as a control instead of glucose. There were no differences in growth rate or food utilization as a result of replacing lactose with Protamyl.
The results are discussed in relation to the development of carbohydrases in new born ruminants.