Articles "Urea Toxicity" Article Index

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By: "Nutrient Requirements Of Goats - Number 15, 1981, National Academy Press"
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Urea is an important natural compound in the physiological processes of goats, but can be highly toxic if consumed in excess. Although most of the urea that is formed in the liver is excreted through the kidney, a portion passes into the rumen where it is hydrolized to ammonia and used by the rumen microorganisms for protein synthesis (Vercoe, 1969; Hume et al., 1970). Therefore, urea is frequently included in ruminant diets to partially replace protein ingredients. Producers and feed formulators must exercise caution when feeding goats urea, since excessive amounts can result in a buildup of ammonia to toxic levels in the bloodstream (Morris and Payne, 1970; Kromann et al., 1971). It is recommended that urea supply no more than one-third of the total crude protein in forage or roughage-type diets and not more than one-half in the concentrate portion of the diet. Also, an adaptation period of at least three weeks is required for the animal to utilize urea efficiently. It is generally beleived that 44 g/100 kg body weight at a single feeding will result in acute toxicity. Producers should assure that daily consumption levels at that rate do not occur.

About the author: The majority of this information was researched from various tests and sources.
"Nutrient Requirements Of Goats - Number 15, 1981, National Academy Press"
Subcommittee on Goat Nutrition
Committee on Animal Nutrition
Board on Agriculture and Renewable Resources
Commission on Natural Resources
National Research Council

Agricultural Research Service

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