Redberry juniper as a roughage source in lamb feedlot rations: performance and serum nonesterified fatty acids, urea nitrogen, and insulin-like growth factor-1 concentrations.
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Effects of replacing cottonseed hulls with dry redberry juniper leaves on performance and serum NEFA, urea N, and IGF-1 were investigated in Rambouillet lambs (n = 24, initial BW = 28.6 +/- 4.94 kg). In a study with 2 feeding periods (period 1 = 65% concentrate ration, 28 d; period 2 = 85% concentrate ration, 49 d), lambs were individually fed ad libitum treatment diets containing cottonseed hulls (control; CSH), one-half of the cottonseed hulls replaced by dry juniper leaves (CSHJ), or all the cottonseed hulls replaced by dry juniper leaves (JUN). Lamb BW was similar on d 0 and 14, but increasing juniper in the diet linearly reduced (P = 0.04) BW on d 28. Differences in BW during period 1 are attributed to ADG and average daily DMI linearly decreasing (P < 0.001) with increasing concentrations of juniper, with lambs fed CSH, CSHJ, or JUN diets having ADG of 0.34, 0.30, and 0.14 kg, respectively. Differences in average daily DMI are attributed to secondary compounds in the cottonseed hulls and juniper and nutrient-toxin interactions. Lambs fed CSHJ diets had the greatest (P = 0.04) G:F compared with lambs fed CSH and JUN during period 1. Lambs fed JUN diets tended to have the greatest (P = 0.09) NEFA concentrations during period 1, and increasing juniper in the diet linearly reduced (P = 0.006) serum urea N and IGF-1 on d 14 and 28, respectively. During period 2, intake and growth of lambs fed JUN diet rapidly increased, resulting in all lambs having similar ADG, DMI, G:F, and BW. When period 2 began (d 33), serum NEFA and urea N were similar (P > 0.12) among lambs, but serum IGF-1 tended to be linearly reduced (P = 0.09) by increasing juniper in the diet. At times during period 2, lambs fed CSHJ had the greatest (P < 0.02) serum urea N (d 40 and 82) and IGF-1 (d 54) concentrations. Results were interpreted to indicate that air-dried redberry juniper leaves can replace all of the cottonseed hulls in lamb feedlot rations. Feeding 30% juniper in the diet for a longer period of time during the initial feeding period probably would have further reduced growth performance.