The effect of ewe body condition at lambing on growth of lambs and colostral specific gravity

Ferda Karaku and Metin Atmaca - Archives Animal Breeding, 59, 107–112, 2016

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

The study, although had an in-depth analysis, still boils down to basics that a good and healthy ewe will yield ample and nutrient-packed colostrum and sufficient to growth needs.

What is the problem?

Norduz is a local fat-tailed sheep type and is characterized by high lamb viability and adaptation capacity to the harsh environmental conditions in Eastern Anatolia. The BCS of Norduz ewes at different physiological periods and CSG had until now never been determined.

The objective of this study is to assess the effect of the body condition of Norduz ewes at lambing on the growth of lambs and colostrum quality based on SG, which were measured using a commercially available colostrometer, and to identify factors associated with BCS and CSG.

What did the research involve?

This study was carried out on 60 Norduz ewes to determine the effect of ewe body condition at lambing on growth of lambs and colostral specific gravity. Body condition score (BCS), ranging from 2.5 to 3.5, had no effect on lamb live weight at birth, 30, 60, 90 and 120 days of age (P > 0.05).

What were the key findings?

  • The average colostral specific gravity determined as 1.049 was not affected by body condition of ewes.
  • A moderate positive correlation was observed between condition score and live weight of ewes.
  • Ranging from 2.5 to 3.5, the average BCS of Norduz ewes was found to be 2.9, which is similar to the ideal condition score of 3 at lambing for ewes.

Final Comment

In the study, BCS at lambing did not affect the growth of the lamb and colostrum quality based on CSG. Therefore, ewes with condition scores between 2.5 and 3.5 at lambing do not require additional feeding in semi-intensive conditions.

The results of this study suggest that BCS was not a reliable estimator of live weight for Norduz ewes. Further research is necessary to determine the optimum BCS for ewes considering differences in genotype, physiological periods and management conditions.

2016 - Turkey - Ferda Karaku and Metin Atmaca - Archives Animal Breeding, 59, 107–112, 2016
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