Growth and protein status were examined in Thoroughbred foals and yearlings offered pasture supplements with different crude protein contents and amino acid compositions. Both supplements contained 3.0 Meal/kg DM, 10% corn oil, 1.4% calcium, and three sources of fiber. The control supplement contained 14% CP and 22% soybean meal, whereas the experimental supplement contained 9% CP and 3% soybean meal and was fortified with 0.6% lysine and 0.4% threonine. Mares and foals were fed twice daily (0700 and 1400) and kept on 12.14-hectare. pastures (mixed grass and ladino clover) until weaning (6 mo). Weanlings continued on specified supplements and pastures for seven additional months. Physical measurements and blood samples were taken monthly for a period of 14 mo. Measurements included BW, ADG, body condition (BC), wither height, hip height, body length, girth, forearm length, front and hind cannon length, and carpus and fetlock circumference. Blood plasma analysis included total protein, albumin, creatinine, and urea nitrogen. Effect of diet and time were evaluated by analysis of variance with repeated measures. No differences (P ≥ 0.05) were found in physical measurements between the control and Lys/Thr groups (ADG 0.7 ± 0.02 kg/d, BC 4.9 ± 0.05) for the observational period. Blood data also showed no difference (P ≥ 0.05) for the period (albumin 2.9 ± 0.03 g/dL, total protein 5.7 ± 0.10 g/dL, creatinine 1.1 ± 0.02 mg/dL). Differences in ADG between the control and experimental groups were observed in November (0.73 ± 0.06 vs 0.91 ± 0.04 kg/d, P = 0.01) and December (0.56 ± 0.04 vs 0.67 ± 0.06 kg/d, P = 0.07) and again in April (0.65 ± 0.12 vs 0.86 ± 0.06 kg/d, P = 0.06). These results suggest that the foals offered the Lys/Thr grew at the same or greater rates than foals on the control supplement. When a low-protein diet was fortified with the first two limiting amino acids, the protein was utilized more efficiently for growth and development. This study gives further insight into the role of protein quality during a foal's 1st yr of growth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology