There is a long-standing disagreement about the influence that feeding has on body composition, particularly in ruminants, yet the problem remains of finding ways to produce lean lambs. This paper attempts to revive the view that feeding can alter, independently, the rate of growth and the relative rate of fattening in sheep. A numerical illustration is given of the relationship between a lamb's potential for growth, its feed requirements and the rules it uses to partition feed resources when they are scarce. For simplicity, the feed is considered only in terms of its metabolisable energy; digestible crude protein ratio. Published data are then review to test whether it is reasonable to retain the proposed theory. The review closes with a discussion of our current options and future possibilities for changing body composition by feeding.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 49, , 85-90, 1989
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