The efficiency of utilization of protein for retention was analysed in pre-ruminant kid goats of the Granadina breed. Sixty male kids were used. Six were slaughtered at birth and the remaining 54 were offered different protein and fat intakes using nine different milk replacers. The protein concentrations were 200, 240 and 280g/kg dry matter (DM) and those of fat were 200, 240 and 280 g/kg DM. Animals were maintained on experiment until they were 60 days old. All were slaughtered on day 61. Nitrogen (N) balance trials were performed during the last 8 days of the 1st and 2nd months. Body composition of the animals slaughtered at birth and at 61 days were determined. Rates of energy retained as protein and as fat were determined (kJ/kg M0·75 per day) and the corresponding rates of metabolizable energy intake as protein and as fat (kJ/kg M0·75 per day) estimated.
Once the relationships between the rates ofN retained and those of digestible N ingested had been established, it was evident that by increasing the protein content of the diet the efficiency of protein retention was decreased. In contrast, increasing the fat content of the milk replacer increased the efficiency of protein retention. The latter effect was noted for the milk replacers containing the high and medium levels of protein but not for those that contained the lowest level of protein, indicating that the level of protein was then the limiting factor. Having recorded this protein-sparing effect of the fat, the results obtained from the slaughter trials were used to develop generalized equations expressing the rates of energy retention in the form of protein or fat as a function of the rates of metabolizable energy intake achieved as both protein and fat. From the analysis of these equations conclusions are drawn about the variable contribution to protein retention in these animals of energy ingested as fat. This contribution depended on the energy intake achieved both in the form of protein and in the form of fat.