Copper status of ewes fed increasing amounts of copper from copper sulfate or copper proteinate.
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The Cu status of mature, crossbred ewes fed two sources (CuSO4 vs. Cu proteinate) and three levels (10, 20, or 30 mg/kg) of dietary Cu was determined in a 73-d feeding trial. Ewes (n = 30) were fed a basal diet containing rice meal feed, cottonseed hulls, cottonseed meal, meat and bone meal, cracked corn, and vitamin-mineral supplements at 2.5% of BW to meet NRC requirements for protein, energy, macrominerals, and microminerals, excluding Cu. The basal diet contained 5 mg/kg Cu, 113 mg/kg Fe, .1 mg/kg Mo, and .17% S. Copper sulfate or Cu proteinate was added to the basal diet to supply 10, 20, or 30 mg/kg of dietary copper in a 2x3 factorial arrangement of treatments. Ewes were housed in 3.7- x 9.1-m pens in an open-sided barn. Blood samples were collected on d 28 and 73. Ewes were slaughtered on d 74, and liver and other tissues were collected to determine Cu concentrations. An interaction (P = .08) occurred between source and level for liver Cu. The interaction existed due to an increase in liver Cu concentrations when ewes were fed increasing dietary Cu from CuSO4 but not when fed Cu proteinate diets. There was no source x level interaction (P>.10) for the blood constituents measured. On d 73, plasma ceruloplasmin activity was greater (P<.05) in ewes fed Cu proteinate than in those fed CuSO4 (33.1 vs. 26.8 microM x min(-1) x L(-1)). Increasing the concentration of dietary Cu did not affect (P>.10) plasma ceruloplasmin. Packed cell volume (PCV), red blood cell count (RBC), white blood cell count, whole blood hemoglobin (wHb), plasma hemoglobin, and plasma Cu were similar between sources of Cu. Ewes fed 20 mg/kg Cu had lower (P<.05) PCV, RBC, and wHb than those fed 10 or 30 mg/kg Cu diets. Feeding up to 30 mg/kg Cu from these sources did not cause an observable Cu toxicity during the 73-d period.