Effects of increasing dried distillers grains with solubles on performance, carcass characteristics, and digestibility of feedlot lambs

T. L. Felix, H. N. Zerby, S. J. Moeller, S. C. Loerch

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The objectives of this study were to determine the effects of 0, 20, 40, or 60% dietary dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) on 1) growing lamb performance, carcass characteristics, and tissue minerals, and 2) nutrient digestibility and retention in growing lambs. In Exp. 1, ninety-six lambs were blocked by sex (ewes, n = 48; wethers, n = 48) and BW, housed in 24 pens (4 lambs per pen), and used in a 92-d feedlot trial (initial BW = 26.4 ± 9.3 kg). Lambs were fed 1 of 4 dietary treatments 1) 0% DDGS, 2) 20% DDGS, 3) 40% DDGS, or 4) 60% DDGS. The DDGS replaced primarily corn, and diets were fed as a complete pellet. There was a quadratic effect of DDGS inclusion on ADG; lambs fed the 20% DDGS diet had the greatest (P = 0.04) gains at 0.358 kg/d. This effect on ADG led to a quadratic (P = 0.03) effect of DDGS on final BW. Increasing dietary DDGS did not affect (P > 0.13) DMI and resulted in a linear (P = 0.02) decrease in G:F. In the liver, S increased linearly (P = 0.05), whereas Cu decreased linearly (P < 0.01) with increasing dietary DDGS; other liver minerals were not affected (P > 0.05). Carcass backfat, yield grade, and marbling score were not affected (P > 0.05) by dietary DDGS. In Exp. 2, twenty-four lambs (initial BW = 43.0 ± 4.4 kg) were used in a metabolism study. Lambs were adapted to the same diets described above for 17 d before a 5-d sampling period during which total feces and urine were collected. Apparent digestibility of dietary DM decreased linearly (P < 0.01) with increasing dietary inclusion of DDGS. Digestibility of fat followed a similar pattern, whereas N, S, and P absorption increased linearly (P < 0.03) with increasing dietary DDGS. The digestibility of NDF was not affected (P > 0.05) by dietary treatment. Apparent retentions (as a percentage of intake) of N, K, Mg, Cu, Fe, and Zn were not affected (P > 0.05) by dietary DDGS inclusion, whereas the retention of S and P decreased (P < 0.04). Daily urine output increased linearly (P < 0.01) and urine pH decreased linearly (P < 0.01) with increasing DDGS (urine pH was 7.46, 5.86, 5.52, and 5.32 for treatments 1 to 4, respectively). These data suggest urine is a major route for excretion of acid when high-S diets containing DDGS are fed. Increases in dietary DDGS resulted in decreased digestion of DM and fat, which may be partially responsible for decreased lamb feedlot performance for 40 and 60% dietary DDGS when compared with 20% DDGS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1356-1363
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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