Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 March 2009
This paper describes the effect of two paths of weight change on the total feed consumed and on body composition at slaughter of Angus steers. The treatments were: a 15% weight loss from 330 kg live weight, at 0·5 kg/day for 100 days, followed by recovery to 330 kg on ad libitum feed intake (WL/WG group), and constant weight at 330 kg for the same length of time as corresponding paired animals in the WL/WG group took to complete their treatment (constant-weight group). There were six animals in each group and they were slaughtered when the WL/WG steers reached 330 kg. At the beginning of the experiment four animals (preliminary group) were slaughtered at 330 kg.
Intakes of feed were recorded and measurements of apparent dry-matter digestibility were made at intervals. Chemical analyses were carried out on the right side of each carcass and on the other components of the body.
The mean total intake of the WL/WG group was 12% less than that of the constant-weight group. The daily dry-matter intake in the constant weight group decreased from 5·9 kg to 4·4 kg during the experiment.
The time taken for the WL/WG steers to regain the 50 kg weight loss varied from 30 to 68 days. Their intakes at this time and their growth rates were similar to those that they experienced when they grew to 330 kg for the first time.
Apparent digestibility varied between animals but was not influenced by treatment. The constant-weight group were fatter than the WL/WG group at slaughter and had heavier carcasses, both differences being significant (P < 0·05). The difference between groups in empty body weight was not significant. Animals from the final slaughter groups had significantly heavier heads and feet and a higher ash content than the younger steers of the preliminary group. Liver weights were reduced by nutritional restriction and did not fully recover in WL/WG steers.