DIETARY PROTEIN LEVELS AFFECT THE NURSING PERFORMANCE AND SERUM BIOCHEMICAL PROFILE OF LACTATING MINK (Neovison vison)
Q. Jiang1, T. Zhang1 G. Li1 H. Zhang1 X. Gao2 X. Xing1 F. Yang1 and X. Wu3,*
1Institute of Special Animal and Plant Sciences, State Key Lab for Molecular Biology of Special Economic Animals, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Changchun City, Jilin, China 132109; 2Feed Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, China 100081; 3College of Animal Science, Anhui Science and Technology University, 1501 Huangshan Avenue, Bengbu, 233100, Anhui, China.
*Corresponding author’s e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This study was aimed to evaluate effects of dietary protein levels on the nursing performance of lactating mink (Neovison vison). A total of 120 pregnant mink were randomly assigned to 4 dietary treatment groups with protein levels of 32% (P32, control), 36% (P36), 40% (P40) and 44% (P44) (dry matter basis, corresponding to 29%, 32%, 36% and 39% of ME), and fed ad libitum for 8 weeks from late gestation to the end of lactation. Results showed that daily weight gain of kits increased linearly with the increasing dietary protein levels although the difference was not significant. Similar trend was noted for the survival rate of kits at weaning. Dams fed diets with higher protein levels showed less body weight loss during lactation. Improved metabolic status was demonstrated by the changed metabolic profiles as indicated blood urea nitrogen level (P<0.05), total protein (P<0.05), glutamate pyruvate transaminase activity and blood glucose content (P<0.05). In conclusion, we found that dietary protein intake significantly affects the nursing performance of female mink. We suggest that an estimated dietary protein level of 44% (39% of ME) could be used as a guidance to achieve the optimal performance of lactating dams.
Key words: dietary protein; female mink; lactation; nursing performance.
Published online April 25, 2020