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Comparative evaluation of supplemental zilpaterol hydrochloride sources on growth performance, dietary energetics and carcass characteristics of finishing lambs.



We compare the effects of three different approved sources of supplemental zilpaterol on growth-performance responses and carcass characteristics of finishing lambs.


Twenty four Pelibuey×Katahdin lambs (46.75±2.43 kg) were used in a 33-day feeding trial. Lambs were fed a dry rolled corn-based finishing diet. Treatments consisted of the non-supplemental basal diet (Control) versus the basal diet supplemented with 125 mg zilpaterol/kg of diet (as fed basis) from three commercial sources marketed in Mexico: Zilmax (ZIL), Grofactor, and Zipamix.


Compared to controls, zilpaterol (ZH) supplementation did not affect dry matter intake (DMI), but increased carcass adjusted daily weight gain (ADG, 36.7%), gain efficiency (34.2%), and dietary net energy (26.0%), and decreased (23.4%) the ratio of observed:expected DMI. Compared to controls, supplemental ZH increased hot carcass weight (6.4%), dressing percentage (3.2%), m. longissimus thoracis (LM) area (15.6%), and shoulder muscle:fat ratio (28.7%), but decreased kidney-pelvic-heart fat, and fat thickness. Supplemental ZH increased 10.9% and 14.3% whole cut weight of loin and leg, respectively, and the proportion (as percentage of cold carcass weight) of leg (4.3%). These increases were reflected in greater forequarter and hindquarter weights. Lambs fed ZH increased (4.6%) empty body weight (EBW) and reduced (14.7%) liver/spleen weight (as g/kg EBW). Likewise, ZH supplementation tended (p = 0.08) to lower (8.9%) visceral fat. Growth performance, energetic efficiency, hot carcass weight, dressing percentage, LM area and whole cuts were not different across supplemental ZH sources. However, compared with non-supplemented controls, only ZIL appreciably decreased carcass fat distribution, including fat thickness, percentage kidney pelvic and heart fat, shoulder fat, and visceral fat.


Supplemental ZH increases ADG, gain efficiency, carcass dressing percentage, and LM area. The magnitude of these responses was similar among ZH sources. Nevertheless, compared with non-supplemented controls, only ZIL appreciably decreases carcass fat. The basis for this is uncertain, but indicative that some practical differences in zilpaterol bio-equivalency may exist across commercial sources tested.

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