Effects of number of lambs suckled and supplemental protein source on lactating ewe performance.

S. C. Loerch, K. E. McClure, C. F. Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Effects of number of lambs suckled and supplemental protein source on ewe performance were determined. Lactation performance of ewes nursing twin or triplet lambs was compared in Exp. 1 and 2. In Exp. 1, ewes giving birth to and nursing triplets produced 21% (P less than .05) more milk/unit metabolic body weight, were 10% more efficient in the conversion of feed to milk and produced 26% (P less than .05) more kg of lamb/ewe on d 42 of lactation than did ewes giving birth to and nursing twins. In Exp. 2, lactation performance of ewes giving birth to triplets and rearing only two lambs was compared with performance of ewes giving birth to triplets and rearing three lambs. Ewes rearing three lambs produced 28% (P less than .08) more milk and were 26% (P less than .05) more efficient in converting feed to milk than were those rearing two lambs. This suggests that direct nursing stimulation of the mammary gland is responsible for the improvement in milk production observed when ewes nurse additional lambs. The efficacy of slowly degradable protein sources for improved lactation was studied in Exp. 3 and 4. When blood meal was fed to twin-rearing ewes at 3.30% of the diet (25% of total dietary protein), milk production was greater (3,176 vs. 2,506 g/d, P less than .05) and efficiency of milk production was greater (1.05 vs .79 g milk/g feed, P less than .05) than when ewes were fed supplemental soybean meal. Ewes in this experiment fed supplemental meat and bone meal also tended to produce more milk than those fed soybean meal.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-13
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of animal science
Volume60
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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