Turkish Journal of Veterinary & Animal Sciences




Twenty male Barbados lambs (3 months old) were used to evaluate the effects of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO_3) supplementation on growth performance and carcass characteristics of lambs fed concentrate diets in controlled-environment chambers set at 20 °C and 30 °C. In the 35-week-long growth trial, the animals were divided into 4 groups (n = 5) and fed 2 dietary treatments: a basal diet (35:65 roughage and concentrate) or a basal diet supplemented with 4% NaHCO_3. Twelve lambs randomly selected from this trial were arranged in a 2 × 2 factorial design for a 10-day-long slaughter and carcass evaluation experiment. Lambs in the 20 °C ambient temperature group had higher (P < 0.001) feed intake (FI, g day-1) and body weights (P < 0.01) than those of the other group. The NaHCO3-supplemented group had higher (P < 0.05) FI g day^{-1} and average daily gain (ADG, kg^{-1}) (P < 0.01) than the other group. The 30 °C ambient temperature affected half carcass weights, body lengths, and bone lengths (P < 0.05, P < 0.01, and P < 0.01, respectively). In conclusion, incorporation of NaHCO_3 to concentrate diets at a 20 °C ambient temperature increased FI g day^{-1} and ADG kg^{-1}, resulting in improved growth performance of the lambs.

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