Mineral requirements of hair sheep in tropical climates

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In this study, we evaluated the requirements of calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na) and potassium (K) for sheep hair growth. Experimental diets contained different levels of metabolizable energy [ME; 0.96, 1.28, 1.72, 2.18 and 2.62 Mcal/kg of dry matter, (DM), corresponding to 4.23, 5.64, 7.58, 9.61 and 11.55 MJ/kg DM]. The lambs' hair (n = 48) at 2 months of age presented an average body weight (BW) of 12.05 ± 1.81 kg. At the beginning of the experiment, eight animals were slaughtered as a reference group to estimate the initial empty body weight and body composition. Net mineral requirements (g/day) ranged from 0.73 to 0.71 g of Ca, 0.51 to 0.49 g of P, 0.026 to 0.026 g of Mg, 0.16 to 0.19 g of Na and 0.15 to 0.13 g of K for animals with a BW ranging from 15 to 30 kg and a daily gain of 100 g. The results of this study indicate that the net macromineral requirements for weight gain in Morada Nova lambs are different from the values commonly recommended by the Agricultural and Food Research Council.

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