Hydrolyzed feather meal (HFM) is high in crude protein, most of which bypasses rumen degradation when fed to lactating dairy cows, allowing direct supply of AA to the small intestine. Compared with other feeds that are high in bypass protein, such as blood meal or heat-treated soybean meal, HFM is low in His and Lys. The objectives of this study were to determine the effects of supplementing rumen-protected (RP) Lys and His individually or in combination in a diet containing 5% HFM on milk production and composition as well as energy and N partitioning. Twelve multiparous Jersey cows (mean ± SD: 91 ± 18 d in milk) were used in a triplicated 4 × 4 Latin square with 4 periods of 28 d (24-d adaptation and 4-d collection). Throughout the experiment, all cows were fed the same TMR, with HFM included at 5% of diet DM. Cows were grouped by dry matter intake and milk yield, and cows within a group were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 treatments: no RP Lys or RP His; RP Lys only [70 g/d of Ajipro-L (24 g/d of digestible Lys), Ajinomoto Co. Inc., Tokyo, Japan]; RP His only [32 g/d of experimental product (7 g/d of digestible His), Balchem Corp., New Hampton, NY]; or both RP Lys and His. Plasma Lys concentration increased when RP Lys was supplemented without RP His (77.7 vs. 66.0 ± 4.69 µM) but decreased when RP Lys was supplemented with RP His (71.4 vs. 75.0 ± 4.69 µM). Plasma concentration of 3-methylhistidine decreased with RP Lys (3.19 vs. 3.40 ± 0.31 µM). With RP His, plasma concentration of His increased (21.8 vs. 18.7 ± 2.95 µM). For milk production and milk composition, no effects of Lys were observed. Supplementing RP His increased milk yield (22.5 vs. 21.6 ± 2.04 kg/d) and tended to increase milk protein yield (0.801 vs. 0.772 ± 0.051 kg/d). Across treatments, dry matter intake (18.5 ± 0.83 kg/d) and energy supply (32.2 ± 2.24 Mcal of net energy for lactation) were not different. Supplementing RP His did not affect N utilization; however, supplementing RP Lys increased N balance (25 vs. 16 ± 9 g/d). The lack of production responses to RP Lys suggests that Lys was not limiting or that the increase in Lys supply was not large enough to cause an increase in milk protein yield. However, increased N balance and decreased 3-methylhistidine with RP Lys suggest that increased Lys supply increased protein accretion and decreased protein mobilization. Furthermore, His may be a limiting AA in diets containing HFM.
Keywords: hydrolyzed feather meal rumen-protected histidine rumen-protected lysine